The Siskiyou Golden Fair may be canceled this year, but that's not stopping kids from being able to sell their farm animals this weekend.
The Jackson County Expo in southern Oregon stepped in at the last minute and offered its facilities for Siskiyou County's annual junior livestock show and auction.
“The support we are getting from our neighbors to the north is beyond anything you would expect and I personally will be forever grateful for their assistance,” Siskiyou Golden Fair CEO Cliff Munson said on the fair's website.
The Yreka fairgrounds became off-limits when Gov. Gavin Newsom declared a state of emergency in Siskiyou County and a base camp was set up for firefighters battling the McKinney Fire, Munson said.
Hosting the livestock auction transcends goodwill between the two fairs. The Medford area went through the Almeda and South Obenchain fires in 2020 and residents are excited to give back, Jackson County Expo Director Helen Baker said.
"First and foremost, it's healing for all of us because we've just went through our own wildfire emergency within the last couple of years," Baker said. "Our community has the ability to give back and to help support these kids and these families in ways very empathetically."
Not having a junior livestock auction would be devastating for the young 4-H, FFA and independent exhibitors who spend months raising their farm animals for an auction payoff. Bidders wouldn't be able to get that prized turkey for Thanksgiving either.
"We just thought looking at all of our options with the freeway between us and them, it was the best choice as an option for not being able to use our own fairgrounds," Munson said.
Munson said the Golden Fair and the Expo have worked closely together in the past.
"They're our closest fair even though there's a border between us," he said, adding that it's a 45- to 50-minute drive from Yreka to the Expo in Central Point, Oregon.
There were other offers within Siskiyou County to host the show and auction.
"The Butte Valley fair offered to take us over there (in Tulelake) but it's more like an hour and 50 minutes and it's a two-lane road," Munson said.
Siskiyou's livestock event will be split into two shows, which Munson said is easier to manage.
Beef and dairy cattle, steers, heifers, rabbits, chickens and turkeys will be shown Friday and will go on sale Saturday night. Goats, sheep, hogs and agriculture mechanics projects will have a Saturday show for auction Sunday morning.
"For a short period, all the animals will be in Central Point at the Expo," Munson said.
People who want to bid can do so in person at the Expo but also from a computer at home. Munson said to go to sisqfair.com to see all the ways a person can bid.
Five Marys Burgerhouse in Fort Jones will livestream the auction at 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday. Munson said the restaurant will offer a taco bar on Saturday night and a Sunday brunch for registered bidders.
"Register to bid and please RSVP to Cory 530-598-4555 ... so we know how many to expect for Tacos and Brunch," the restaurant said on Facebook.
Munson said turkeys have done very well in past auctions.
"People love them. If you've ever had a fairground turkey, they always say no one will ever go back to the regular store-bought turkey again. They're unbelievable and they say they're wonderful," Munson said.
He said holding the junior livestock auction in Oregon is a first for the Golden Fair. Munson said in a past interview the first fair in Siskiyou County was held in Fort Jones in 1859.
Munson said round 250 youths will participate with upward of 280 entries, since some junior exhibitors bring two animals.
Junior Livestock committee vice president Jeff Fowle said the farm animals will be transported to Central Point just as they would've been brought to Yreka.
The livestock committee had to make adjustments this year just as in 2020 when the fair was canceled and an abbreviated show and auction took place at the Yreka fairgrounds due to COVID-19 restrictions. The event was shown live online and it wasn't open to the public.
"We don't let anything stop us. We're Siskiyou County," Fowle said.
Mike Chapman is an award-winning reporter and photographer for the Record Searchlight in Redding, Calif. His newspaper career spans Yreka and Eureka in Northern California and Bellingham, Wash. Support local journalism by subscribing today.
This article originally appeared on Redding Record Searchlight: Siskiyou Golden Fair's junior livestock auction moves to Oregon