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Community Interest

GAINESVILLE – While the current Youth Fair and Live Stock show will be held at the Alachua County Fairgrounds, the search for the future home for the annual fair continues.

The collapse of the Alachua County Fairgrounds pole barn in December led to a change in the show’s usual arrangement. The show taking place March 8-12 now has the animal show ring located in the exhibition hall. The show ring had previously been in the pole barn.

Cindy Sanders, Alachua County extension director, said the show ring is about a 60 to 70 feet diameter ring with panels around the outside where the students will exhibit all the livestock animals.

“It’s going to be good in a way because we will be out of the weather,” Sanders said. “We don’t know about the acoustics of the building, that might be a little bit of an issue but we are going to work around that.”

Three tents were rented for the animals to be housed with the county also providing a tent.

Chenoa Dixon, Alachua County Youth and Live Stock show president, said the extra tent provides more than enough room for the more than 30 year-old-show.  

There are currently two locations being considered for the possible location of the fair. Robert Avery, Alachua County parks superintendent said locations currently being looked at include Payne’s Prairie Preserve State Park and the Newberry Equestrian Center, Canterbury Showplace.

One concern with the option of using Payne’s Prairie Preserve State Park for the future youth fair is the location.

“It’s quite a distance from Gainesville,” Avery said.

Another possibility being considered for the fairgrounds is Gainesville Raceway, Avery said.

There are amenities that the youth fair would need regardless of next year’s location.

Dixon said the fair would need a full functioning livestock arena with a covered facility to house the animals as well as camping facilities for families with exhibits.

“I just want a facility that the youth fair can continue to operate at,” she said. “If we don’t have new fairgrounds in place by then, we can continue to repeat the plan we did this year for the fairgrounds.”

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