Frequently Asked ?'s
Fair Week isn't the only time of the year that you have questions. Here you will find a few of the frequently asked questions about our fair schedule, registrations, fair week and other info. Use this page for reference, if you cannot find what you are looking for please feel free to reach out by phone or email.
Tagging my fair animals?
If you are in need of a tagger in order to tag your animals, the fair office has a few taggers that can be rented out. We ask that you bring back the tagger in the same condition you received it in.
How do we drop off animals for the fair?
This plan will only work with the cooperation of our exhibitor families so please be sure to read this information completely so you can be ready to drop off your animals. Fair animals may arrive Saturday July 29 after 6 p.m. until Sunday July 30, by 11 a.m.
All larger livestock species will enter through Gate 3 off of Hillcrest and will exit out Gate 6 by the Armory. PLEASE DO NOT ENTER GATE 3 ON HILLCREST HEADING EAST FROM LINCOLN AVE. (ALGER RD). Instead approach gate 3 heading west on Hillcrest from State Street. Horses, rabbits and poultry will enter through Gate 6 by the Armory. Attached is a color coded map showing routes for the different species. Please note that Gates 1 & 2 will be closed during the entire week of fair including when animals are dropped off.
GCFFY asks all trailers to unload as quickly as possible and go to the parking area near the Armory where they can either go home or park. After 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, August 6, trailers can be moved back to the parking area west of the Feeder Barn (where the house used to be) LEAVING MARKED FIRE LANE OPEN from Gate 3 to the Smith Mechanical Road.
If you leave your trailer at GCFFY you are giving GCFFY permission to reposition your trailer to maximize parking and to create a safe environment in the trailer parking areas.
PIGS – Outlined in Pink
Pigs will enter through Gate 3 and head down the Smith Mechanical Road past the Crops/Archery Barn and turn onto Efaw Builders Road. At the new Barn L, back in to drop off your animal. Unload and move your trailer out to the Main Livestock Trailer Parking area as soon as you are unloaded.
FEEDERS – Outlined in Yellow
Feeders will enter through Gate 3 and will back in towards the west side of the J Barn to unload. As soon as the trailer is unloaded, exit back out through the Smith Mechanical Road and out to the general parking area, livestock trailer parking.
BEEF, SHEEP – Outlined in Blue
Beef and Sheep will enter through Gate 3 and will head to the Smith Mechanical Road and Turn Down Efaw Builders Rd. to unload. Beef will unload at Barn E and Sheep will unload at Barn Q. Quickly unload and then move your trailer out to the general parking area, livestock trailer parking.
DAIRY, GOATS – Outlined in Green
Dairy and Goats will enter through Gate 3 and will head to the Smith Mechanical Road and Turn Down Stoneman Farms LLC Rd. to unload. Both Dairy and Goats will unload at Barn I. Quickly unload and then move your trailer out to the general parking area, livestock trailer parking.
HORSE, RABBITS & POULTRY – Outlined in Purple
Horse, Rabbits & Poultry will enter through Gate 6 and head towards the barns and drop off. Quickly unload and then move your trailer out to the general parking area or by the South Horse Barn.
Where will my animal be penned?
With the completion of the Come Grow Us Campaign, the fair has much more flexible exhibition space. Because of this, names we have used may no longer be the best name for our barns. We will be putting a letter on each barn which will correspond to our map. Our superintendents met and looked over the space and created a plan to house our animals.
In 2023, the fair's animals will be housed in the following barns:
Beef - Barn E
Dairy - Barn I
Feeders - Barn J
Goats - Barn I
Horses - Barn K & N
Poultry - Barn O
Rabbits - Barn O
Sheep - Barn Q
Swine - Barn L
Can animals still re-weigh the following day?
No. The fair board eliminated the following day weigh-in. The fair has found too many examples where the animal has gained an unhealthy amount of weight in order to show at the fair. In order to protect our livestock and to portray agriculture in the best possible light, GCFFY will NOT allow re-weighing of animals. There will be no exceptions.
How is the fair helping to keep fair exhibitors and family, animals and visitors healthy?
The fair has created a biosecurity plan to help reduce the risk of disease transmission between people and animals at the fair. A special section of this plan has been created specifically for fair exhibitors and can be downloaded by clicking here. Much of this information will be extremely helpful when filling out their record books.
Do I need to complete a Record Book?
YES, if you are selling a market animal at the fair (including dairy) or exhibiting a horse project you MUST complete a Record Book. If exhibitors are only showing breeding stock in an area, they are not required to take a record book unless otherwise notified. Any dairy exhibitor, who is showing their project and wants to be part of the dairy sale, MUST also complete a record book
When filling out their record books, exhibitors learn much more about their project and it helps them understand the incredible support fair buyers provide to every kid.
Record Books can be downloaded by clicking here.
When and where do we turn in our record books?
The time and location each species record books are due is posted in the livestock barns of the respective species. After fair books are judged, they will be returned to the exhibit buildings.
Where do we pick up our large animal record books?
Market Beef, Feeder Beef, Sheep, and Swine record books will be placed in the Still Exhibit barn after they are judged and recorded (look for them beginning on Wednesday evening). It is the exhibitor's responsibility to pick up the books after fair.
Do I have to clean-up my animal stalls, pens and cages?
YES. All animal projects brought to GCFFY must be taken care of well. This includes after the animals have left the fairgrounds. After the animals leave, all manure must be cleaned out of your pen, stall, cage or any other location your animal was at. Furthermore the sides of the pens, cages and stalls must be cleaned off. Any manure or bedding in the pen should be cleaned off the walls, bars and wires and we encourage you to use a disinfectant cleaner to do this to help us reduce the possibility of spreading disease at the fairgrounds. Exhibitors who fail to do this WILL see a cleaning fee deduction from their sale check. Anyone in question of what they need to do is encourage to talk with their species superintendent.
What if I find a yellow or red tag on my animal's stall, pen or cage?
Throughout the week, the fair and the superintendents will follow the yellow tag/red tag system to mark stalls, pens and cages which are not up to the standard of the fair. If you receive one of these tags you are to IMMEDIATELY clean the pen, make sure your animal has water and then see the superintendent to discuss how you can better take care of your animal project. It is the fair's responsibility to showcase agriculture responsibly to the community.
Can I get a campsite for the fair?
At this time, there are still GCFFY campsites available. GCFFY's campsite procedures are available to offer open sites to families who sign up on the fair's campsite waiting list. If you want a campsite for this or a future fair, please email the fair office at email@example.com with your contact information to be added to our master campsite waiting list.
When can we bring in cattle chutes & canopies?
GCFFY has instituted a policy to not allow outdoor cattle chutes to be set up prior to FRIDAY, JULY 28. This is in response to the challenge these chutes impose in getting our lawn mowed and presentable for the week of fair. Indoor chutes are at the discretion of your species superintendent. Space is provided on a first come, first served basis.
All cattle chutes will be placed WEST of Barn J (Feeder Barn). There will be a place marked off for setting them up in a double row. There is limited power at this location so be prepared to bring a generator to power your blower. There will also be an opportunity for exhibitors who want to fit out of their trailers and be able to park near this area. Again... space will only be on a first come, first served basis.
What can go in the manure bunkers?
It would seem pretty evident but ONLY manure can go into the manure bunkers. There can be no trash, twine, bottles, rocks/concrete or other refuse placed inside a manure bunker. This is spread on a farmer's field and a stray rock can cause significant damage to their equipment and a bag of fast food wrappers will not help their crop grow.
Does the fair provide hoses?
No. At the fair's wash racks there will be short hoses which do not reach all the way to the ground. This is to prevent backflow into the city's municipal water system and is a requirement from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. Exhibitors will be expected to bring their own hoses and nozzles.
What is up with GCFFY parking this year?
As was done the last few years, fair visitors will enter the fairgrounds starting the Monday of fair week (July 31), through a gate immediately east of the Alma Armory. GCFFY will close the entrances on Alger Road (or Lincoln Ave) and these gates will not be open during the week of the fair. All visitors will need to use the entrance which is located at 130 Hawthorne Street, Alma which is just beyond the Armory. GCFFY will have signs helping to direct traffic to the parking areas.
Entering off of Hawthorne Street, visitors will gain access to the large parking area south of the main Alma Armory, but still on the Armory property. Plug in 130 Hawthorne St., Alma, MI 48880 on your GPS to find the location of this driveway. Parking attendants will be available at the gates to direct traffic into parking areas. GCFFY will install gates as fencing along the fair perimeter. This fencing will direct fair visitors away from camping areas and encourage visitors to enter the fairgrounds next to the bathhouse.
Visitors who are camping with us or have special needs (such as vendors who need to bring in supplies or visitors with handicapped permits) will follow the road through the parking area to another gate which will permit vehicle access to the general fairgrounds. The fair will be looking more closely this year at these special permits. Campers will only be allowed to park 2 vehicles at their campsite that have been issued window sticker permits (stop by the fair office to pick up your campsite packet) starting July 10.
What is the price for parking this year?
The revenue raised through parking helps the fair offset the costs of maintaining the fair's facilities and grounds throughout the year and 25% of the gate admission is split with the non-profit volunteer groups who cover our parking for the day. As always, weekly vehicle admission (parking) permits are available for $20 at the gate or for $18 through Saturday, July 29 from the fair office. Daily vehicle admission (parking) rates will be $7.
Are carnival wristbands really ONLY $15 if purchased on or before July 28?
YES! Maple Leaf Amusements is allowing us to sell ride tickets for ride passes good for one day of unlimited rides, for one person. Ride Passes are available for a special low rate of $15 each from the GCFFY Fair Office. Hurry because this special rate ends on Saturday, July 29 or until the 2,500 tickets we have been issued run out. So don't wait, get your tickets today!
Where do I get my Exhibit Tags?
GCFFY presented your exhibit tags to your club’s administrative leader (if your club leader has not picked them up, they can by visiting the fair office during business hours). Along with exhibit tags, leaders have been provided a sheet to give to each exhibitor who has signed up with GCFFY, which shows their contact information and lists the classes that the fair has them registered for in their computer. When reviewing your exhibitor data sheet, notify GCFFY if you find errors in your contact information. The fair’s entry system will use this information exactly as it is printed on your sheet in their sale programs and checks (think address). If there are errors, contact Erin Humm in the GCFFY office at firstname.lastname@example.org or call them at 989-466-5071.
Where can I find a schedule for exhibitors?
In the public, GCFFY publicizes a schedule for fair visitors. GCFFY has an exhibitor schedule and you should refer to this as much as possible to ensure you are in the right place at the right time. The schedule is printed in the front of your GCFFY Fair Book. A current copy of the exhibitor schedule can also be found by clicking here.
In the exhibitor schedule you will find:
Dates and locations of all shows & sales
Check-in times for animals and shows
Location of Exhibitor Dance
Do all trophies get passed out at the Awards Program?
No. Still Exhibit Awards, Record Book winners, Skillathon, Sweepstakes, and Skills Test & Lab winners will be given out at the GCFFY Awards Program on Saturday, August 5 at 10:00 a.m. in the Covered Arena. GCFFY trophies and awards will be presented at this event and pictures will be taken of all exhibitors in the project area. Please be respectful to all the exhibitors and cheer on all our fair exhibitors getting awards until the last award is passed on to its rightful recipient. Horse awards are presented on Saturday, August 5th after the Awards Program in the Horse Arena (which is followed by the incredible horse drill team presentation).
If you won a livestock award such as a market class or showmanship class then you can receive your award at the Fair Office after your show is over and the Superintendent has given the Fair Office the winner list.
What kind of award will I receive if I win?
The majority of the over 500 GCFFY awards will be trophies. The fair has some special areas they provide special recognition items. Awards may change without notice.
I won an award and I cannot make the awards program, what should I do?
Exhibitors who cannot make the awards program should find someone to pick up their trophy for them at the Awards Program (as listed above). All of our trophies are carefully put away so the Awards Program can go on smoothly. Because of this awards will not be presented early, if you cannot find someone to pick up your award for you they will be brought back to the fair office to be picked up after the fair.
Why don’t I have Exhibit Tags for all my entries?
GCFFY creates exhibit tags for exhibits which are to be displayed in the Still Exhibit Barn. For this reason our database creates exhibit tags only for still exhibit projects.
How do my Still Exhibit projects get judged?
Exhibit judging will be Saturday, July 29 in the Covered Arena from 9:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Inside the arena, you will find large, easy to find signs for each of the project departments. Find the department your project falls under and take your project to be judged to that area. All PeeWee still exhibit projects will be judged from the PeeWee department which is located by the large east door of the arena. This year there will be additional help in the food area to help speed up judging, but GCFFY encourages you to come early to beat the crowds that gather towards the end of the judging. Gratiot County 4-H Council will be set-up at a table near the large east entrance to the Covered Arena to help answer any questions.
Parking is available on the east side of the covered arena and the gate (Gate 4) on Hillcrest Road, just east of the Covered Arena, will be open during the judging times. The main entrance for judging will be the east entrance of the covered arena.
After your projects are judged, please take your projects to the Still Exhibit Barn to be displayed. There will be no charge for parking on Saturday (or Sunday) of the fair and you can drive and park (as you unload) near the Still Exhibit Barns. PeeWee projects will be dropped off inside the Merchant's Building and all other projects will be in the Still Exhibit Building. Inside the barns there will be many friendly volunteers who will help you find the right project area to deliver your project to be displayed.
As a parent how do I help my child during Still Exhibit Judging?
Parents are an integral part of the fair. Experience has shown, however, during judging our exhibitors are more comfortable talking openly with the judge when the parents step away. This interaction between the exhibitor and judge is an important lesson for the exhibitor and helps develop their communication skills. GCFFY expects exhibitors to take their projects to the judges themselves. Some exhibitors will come with many projects and as a parent you are more than able to help your exhibitor hold projects and help keep your child organized. When your exhibitor is getting judged, however, you are encouraged to watch from the bleachers and take pictures. Exhibitors with a large project are welcome to ask the judge to come to the parking area to evaluate their project.
Where can we park while our exhibits are judged?
The gate (Gate 5) on Hillcrest Road which runs the north side of the Fairgrounds will be open just east of the Covered Arena. GCFFY encourages you to take your exhibits back to the designated display as soon as judging is done. If an exhibit is held back please stop by at 11:45 a.m. to make sure your exhibit gets brought back to the designated display. Feel free to park in this area while your projects are being judged. The dog show will be using this area so please make sure you move your car out of this parking area no later than 12:30 p.m. There will not be parking charges on this Saturday. After your projects are judged, you can drive them right to your exhibit barn, if you are extra cautious watching for people. At this point, PeeWee projects will be dropped off in the Merchant's Building and most other project areas will be set up in the Still Exhibit Barn.
How do I sign up for the Still Exhibit Auction?
All exhibitors who will be participating in the Still Exhibit Auction must register their project ONLINE with FairEntry. If you choose to change the item you registered to sell you may edit your response on FairEntry. If you have not registered and/or confirmed your entry by NOON on Saturday you WILL NOT be able to sell in the Still Exhibit Auction. Remember, only one item may be sold at the auction. If you exhibit a blanket and a picture, you must choose one to be auctioned off. With that said, if your auction item is a pie and you want to sell your pie with ice cream and inside a basket, it is acceptable as the project coordinates with the additions.
How do I deliver something which is not food in the Still Exhibit Auction?
Any non-food exhibits purchased from the still exhibit auction will be delivered BY THE EXHIBITOR after the fair is over. The buyer should NOT pick up the item from the fairgrounds themselves. A card will be given to each exhibitor when he/she signs up for the auction. This card will be used to exchange contact information between the buyer and the seller immediately after they sell and get their project moved off the stage. Click here if you want to get your card printed early. Exhibitors who do not deliver the project to the buyer WILL NOT get paid.
How do I invite buyers to the sale?
The GCFFY is quickly approaching, and now is the perfect time to invite community members to attend both the still exhibit and livestock auctions. These sales provide an opportunity for local businesses and individuals to support our exhibitors by purchasing their projects at a premium generously above market value. Simply write up a little about your projects and what is being sold at each auction. Feel free to include a photo of you with your projects and maybe a sample if it something you are cooking. Take a letter to the many businesses around Gratiot County, most of which generously support our fair. Make sure to get your family members at the auction to bid up your projects and maybe even purchase them.
How do I thank my buyer?
Exhibitors will be encouraged to put a thank you card on their Still Exhibit Sale item as it is displayed throughout fair week, naming the buyer. Similarly Livestock exhibitors are encouraged to put a thank you on their pens to thank the buyers who purchase their animals. Sale buyers look for this as well. When you get your sale check after the fair, the address from your sale buyer(s) will be printed on the check stub. If you have not already sent a thank you note, you are strongly encouraged to do this when you get this address. Many exhibitors in the Livestock Sale will present their sale buyer a thank you gift at the sale as well.
What condition should my animals be before I ship them to the fairgrounds?
Before loading livestock for the fair, please take some time to clean the animals and pay particular attention to getting the ear tags clean and readable. This helps to ensure check-in and weigh-ins go much smoother.
How can I participate in the fair’s Exhibitor Dance?
On Friday, August 4 around 8:00 p.m., the fair will host our annual Exhibitor Dance. This event is only for exhibitors and one guest. Parent volunteers – however – are encouraged to come as well to help chaperone. Exhibitors must register at the registration table at the dance. All exhibitors who have turned in a fair entry form or a horse exhibitor entry form will be on a list and may receive a wrist band for themselves and a guest. Pizza and refreshments will be served.
Will bedding be available on the fairgrounds?
Yes! Seville Superstars Club will be selling bagged shavings on our grounds this year for $6 per bag. You are not required to use this club's shavings. You are, however, required and expected to keep your animal’s pen clean.
When can we start setting up our pens?
GCFFY is asking superintendents to have stall, pen, and club display assignments posted by Wednesday, July 28 and will ask you to wait until then to start setting up your displays and decorations.
Clubs can help set up their assigned sections of the Still Exhibit Barn area as well on that Wednesday. Information has been sent to all club leaders sharing with them how they can be included in the Still Exhibit Barn with a handcrafted banner and how they can help with a project area.
What are the upcoming fair office hours?
During the fair the office will have the following hours:
Saturday, July 29: 8:00 am. - 5:00pm
Sunday, July 30: 8:00am-2:30pm
Monday, July 31: 8:00am-5:00pm 7:00-8:00pm
Tuesday, August 1: 8:00am-5:00pm 7:00-8:00pm
Wednesday, August 2: 8:00am-5:00pm 7:00-8:00pm
Thursday, August 3: 8:00am-5:00pm
Friday, August 4: 8 am. - 8:00am-5:00pm
Saturday, August 5: 8:00am-5:00pm
Where do you have young kids go if they are lost?
GCFFY wants to be a safe place for our young people. With that said it is a good idea for parents to have a plan with young kids who visit the fair and make sure the child knows where to go in the event they become separated, before they come to the fair. One idea is to have youth exhibitors go to the Vanderbeek Fair Office. The fair office is the only green and white building. Once there, the youngster will be made comfortable and we will make every effort to reunite them to you quickly.
What about fair parking & parking pass sales?
The fair will begin charging for parking on Monday, July 31. The fair encourages you to purchase your weekly parking passes in advance. The weekly pass will cost $18.00 and is now available in the fair office. Daily parking passes will be available at the gate for $7.00. Parking should be at your campsite as your camping rules states or in designated parking areas. After Monday, July 31, weekly parking passes will increase to $20 at the gate.
Families camping with GCFFY have two special weekly parking permits available in their camping packet to be picked up in the fair office. This corresponds to the campsite rules of no more than two vehicles per campsite. These permits will not be replaced as they provide access to the campgrounds. If you have more vehicles staying on the fairgrounds, the extra vehicles can park in the general parking area with a weekly pass.
Feeding Areas and ORVs
Trucks and cars are NOT permitted in the animal exhibit areas. GCFFY requires you to find other ways to transport your feed, bedding and tack to your animal area. Parking attendants will be given instructions not to allow unregistered vehicles in the exposition areas. People who park vehicles in blocked off areas will have their vehicles towed. ORV’s may be registered if you follow the official ORV rules listed on the registration form, provide a proof of insurance as requested on the form, and pay the fee ($25 before July 23 and $30 after that date). There is trailer parking on the corner of Lincoln Ave & Hillcrest St. which is near the livestock barns and near the South Horse Barn. These can be excellent places to store livestock feed, wheelbarrows and tack.
When can we check-out our livestock and animal exhibits?
The release time for non-market & PeeWee Beef, Dairy, Feeder Beef, Goats, Poultry, Rabbits, Sheep & Swine animals will be during buyer pick-up which is on Saturday, August 5 from 9:00 p.m. to 10:00p.m. This includes all non-market livestock such as breeding stock and PeeWee projects. If you have questions, please consult your species superintendent(s).
Your project animals (other than animal buyers and those species listed above who may take their purchases home Saturday from 9 p.m. – 10 p.m.) should not leave the grounds until 9 pm when they are released. This does not include animals that have been sold. Check with your superintendent for this time. As a reminder, your market animal changes ownership once the gavel falls. Be sure to feed and take care of your animals for your buyer, and exhibitors are encouraged to be ready to part with their animal early on Saturday.
When can I pick up my still exhibit projects?
The Still Exhibit Barns will be open on Sunday, August 6 for project pick-up between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. If you cannot get your own project, please make arrangements for someone else to pick them up. The fair is not responsible for left-over projects. If a buyer purchased one of your still exhibit projects and you leave it at the fairgrounds during the week, you are to pick it up and make sure it is delivered to your buyer.
Club Leaders and FFA Chapter Advisors have been sent a list of things their group is responsible for before and after fair. This will help us get our fairgrounds ready for the fair and put back to normal after the event. Check with your club leader for information before you head out to a fair clean up event. Fair Clean-Ups will be scheduled for:
Wednesday, July 19 (5:30pm to 7:30pm)
Sunday, July 23 (5:30pm to 7:30pm)
Wednesday, July 26 (5:30pm to 7:30pm)
A huge thank you to all of you for helping make our fair a great community event.
How are large animal skillathon contests scored?
GCFFY superintendents will score six areas in beef, feeder beef, sheep, and swine skillathon contests. The areas are Record Book, Skills Test, Skills Lab, Livestock Judging Contest, Market Class, and Showmanship Class. The exhibitor’s scores in the top five areas will be tallied together (the lowest score being dropped) and the exhibitor with the highest score will be declared the winner. The six areas scored are: market/breed class placing, showmanship placings, record book, written test, lab practical test, and livestock judging contest. If you are doing skillathon, you are encouraged to sign-up for the Livestock Judging Contest. There is a separate trophy presented to the top skills test/lab winners in each area and this is not the entire skillathon.
How do we find out who won skillathon?
Skillathon winners will be posted on your barn's bulletin board. If you finish first or second in your skillathon area you must complete a thank you card, as with any trophy, and turn it in at the fair office. Prizes will be awarded at the Awards Program on Saturday, August 7 at 10:00 a.m.
When will I get a check from my fair sales?
GCFFY buyers pay a premium at our fair sales which is often significantly over market. Sometimes it takes a while for buyers to get their checks to the fair. Most generally within about four to five weeks after the fair there will be enough money in our accounts to cover mailing out the checks. Individual exhibitor checks will not be mailed until all their buyers have paid.