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The Birds Are Back At This Year’s Fairs

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Sonora, CA – It has been two years since kids have had a chance to show off their birds at both the Tuolumne and Calaveras county fair events.

Not due to the COVID pandemic but the highly contagious Virulent Newcastle disease, a fatal viral disease affecting the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems of birds and poultry. It had plagued the state since 2019 and continued through the beginning of last year, as reported here.

The word that the epidemic had subsided came too late for last year’s Mother Lode Fair. Livestock Supervisor Kim Helmbold can laugh about it now but recounts, “It was just after we had canceled the fair. They told us that it was safe to host our poultry shows again and we didn’t have to worry about contagious birds coming in.”

This year both counties are having poultry shows. Last month, the Calaveras County Junior Livestock Program announced they would be hosting a poultry show (breed and market) during the Calaveras County Homecoming. It begins next week and is a modified version of the “Calaveras County Fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee,” which held each year at this time, but was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. This event runs from May 13-16th, click here for details. Also, Fair CEO and Manager Laurie Giannini was this weekend’s guest on Mother Lode Views, click here.

The Mother Lode Fair has also made changes to its event, adjusting its schedule to start off the week with the poultry show. It will consist of one show and species a day through the week. At past fairs, there would normally be two shows a day over just three days, Wednesday through Friday.

Helmbold is happy to be back live and in person at the fairgrounds, “I was thrilled. These kids are excited to come back and do poultry. It is a large project across all the FFA and 4-H groups.” She added, “We tried to supplement with some other things in 2019, some video presentations, but they really want to be able to bring their birds.”

There will be “fancy birds,” market animals (chickens and turkeys) with the kids showing the birds in showmanship and the market portion, which is the birds being judged. The poultry auction starts on June 28th and the fair itself is July 1-4, with the first poultry show starting Monday at 8 a.m., click here for more information.

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