There are no chickens or other live poultry at the Steele County Fair this year, or any other fair in the state. But Steele County 4-H students are still competing for ribbons.

Due to the outbreak of avian influenza, the Minnesota Board of Animal Health issued a directive early this summer that canceled bird exhibitions at all county fairs and the Minnesota State Fair. The ban is in effect through the end of 2015.

Many 4-H participants would already have been working on their projects for the fair. A plan was devised to continue the judging and awarding of ribbons at the Steele County Fair. 4-H students have created poster boards of their projects. Stuffed toy birds are also being used and the 4-H members will take those home as souvenirs.

An assistant to a superintendent pointed out a positive aspect of the altered judging, saying a 4-H member could do a project on a bird they don't have and find out they may want to obtain that type of bird for a future project.

4H students are still competing in the poultry department at the fair even though no animals are being brought in. Roy Koenig, Townsquare Media


4-H students are doing their projects on poster board in the poultry department at the 2015 Steele County Fair. Roy Koenig, Townsquare Media