JEFFERSON — The Ashtabula County Junior Fair Market Animal sale had a bit of a different feel on Saturday as the event moved to the grandstand because of social distancing needs due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"I wish it was normal but it is what it is," said Robert Jacham, who helps coordinate the event. He said the biggest difference was the move to the grandstands from it's normal home in an enclosed arena.
Jacham said the fairgrounds had been "dead quiet" because the only people allowed on the fairgrounds were participants and family. He said the market animal participants were a little over half of last year's participants.
He said the hogs were down this year but other animals were close to normal. "The steers and lambs are pretty much spot on," Jacham said.
Jacham said the bidders registered to buy projects were very close to last year's numbers.
The bidders were spread throughout the grandstands and three auctioneers watched closely for bids.
"It's going to be cooler [outside]. We may miss a few bids but I think we will adjust," auctioneer John Erdl said minutes before the start.
Instead of showing the actual animal the participants showed a picture of the animal and walked up and down the front of the bleachers so potential bidders could decide how much to spend.
A total of 167 participants sold their projects ranging from cheese baskets to steer.
"It is different. We usually get to take up the turkey and hold it," said Lilly Luce, 14, of Andover.
The challenge for the buyer was how large the animal is with only a picture to provide perspective.
"We wrote how much they weigh on the poster," Luce said.
Bart Kanicki kicked off the start of the market animal show with a statement of thanks that the fair was able to occur in any manner.
"As the fair board we are thankful we have been able to have what have [of the fair] ... and let these kids finish their projects," he said.