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Alpena virtual 4-H showcase starts today

Courtesy Photo Savannah Avent, Alpena County’s 4’Her of the Year, is pictured with the steer she will be showing as part of the county’s 4-H Virtual Showcase and Auction this week.

ALPENA — Youth in the Alpena County 4-H program will still be able to demonstrate their showmanship and sell their livestock as the Alpena County 4-H Virtual Showcase and Auction begins online today.

While the coronavirus pandemic did not make it possible for the Alpena County Fair to continue in person, MSU Extension officials decided they would continue this year’s 4-H programming online. Area 4-H youth were still able to raise their animals for show or for auction like they would during the fair.

The public can attend the showcase and auction virtually at alpenashowcase.fairentry.com, where showmanship and class results will be posted today and the auction will begin at 6 p.m. Tuesday through 6 p.m. Thursday. The auction’s resale will be held on Friday from noon to 6 p.m.

Michelle Eagling, 4-H program coordinator with Alpena County’s Michigan State University Extension office, said there are 36 participants in this year’s fair, which is down from previous years.

“4-H is really a hands on learning experience and I think the unknown from when COVID started three months ago… probably deterred people,” Eagling said.

4Her of the Year Savannah Avent, who has been participating in 4-H for about eight years, said the decision to participate in the online showcase was about following through with her project and gaining a sense of completion.

“Even though we can’t show in person, part of our project — a big part of it — is being able to finalize it with your showmanship and your market class to show all the hard work you’ve done all year long,” she said.

Avent said she raised and worked with her steer since last September for a showmanship class. She is also participating in horse showmanship, a market rabbit class, and a market baby beef class.

“It will be fun to see everyone’s videos and see how they did on their showmanship compared to how I did on mine because it’s different,” she said. “When you show in person, everyone shows at the same time and you get to see how you’re showing next to everyone. But online now we’re showing individually so you have to wait to see how everyone else did as well. That will be interesting.”

Eagling said 4-H youth who participated in showmanship submitted a small summary of their project and shot videos “as if they were actually in their own personal show ring at their house.” She said the 4-H program still hired judges and volunteers throughout the state to score their projects.

Those participating in market classes were required to submit an auction narrative and photos of their animals that showcased their finished project.

Those wanting to participate in the annual 4-H auction will have to create an account on the website to bid on the livestock. Then they will be able to participate in seven sales, including small poultry, large poultry, rabbits, lamb, goat, swine, and beef.

Because 4-H officials and youth are unable to meet in person to weigh the livestock, Eagling said 4-H youth will be selling their animals by the head this year instead of by the pound. Those bidding on animals will have to meet a minimum price, which she said is the break-even point for what it costs the youth to raise their animals.

The auction’s resale on Friday gives the public another opportunity to bid on the livestock. Eagling said sometimes a business or organizations buy an animal but then choose to donate the animal back to be sold a second time.

When animals are sold in the resale, Eagling said proceeds go to the 4-H program to be used for scholarships and programming.

Eagling can be contacted by emailing eaglingm@msu.edu or calling 989-354-9878 and leaving a voicemail.

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