Photo courtesy of Berry Sweet Memories by Dee Dee Wheeler. Two Harvest Queen Scholarship Pageant participants (left and right) with their market lamb at the 2019 Hillsborough County Fair.

The 2020 Hillsborough County Fair will be having a restricted opening due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For the health and safety of the fair staff, volunteers, fairgoers and all vested parties, the Hillsborough County Fair Board of Directors voted to modify the fair events to hold only the Youth Livestock Shows and the Harvest Queen Scholarship Pageant. All other aspects of the fair will be postponed until 2021.

The Youth Livestock Shows and Sales will still be held from Thursday, October 22 through Sunday, November 1, but with an updated schedule and modified rules to adhere to the CDC recommendations for Youth Livestock Shows at county fairs.

All aspects for the Youth Livestock Shows will take place, except for the Youth Rabbit Show, due to rabbits being potential carriers of the virus. Exhibitors for the youth rabbit show will be notified by the livestock director and all entry fees paid will be refunded.

These shows will now be closed shows open only to the exhibitor and their families, but they will be livestreamed via its Facebook page. Information will be released in the next few weeks on the fair’s website and Facebook page and will be emailed directly to exhibitors that have already registered for this year’s Youth Livestock Shows and Sales.

Registration for the breeding shows will remain open until October 1 and updated entry rules and information will be released soon on

The Harvest Queen Scholarship Pageant will take place on Saturday, September 19 as originally planned. Contestants will be notified via email by the pageant committee with the new, specific guidelines. The pageant will also be a closed event open only to the contestants, their families and the judges.

“We’ve held those events ever since the beginning of the fair and we felt that we had to modify the schedule to make it work, but we wanted to still provide that for the youth because they already had their animals, they worked for many, many months to prepare for the show and sale and we just wanted to do them justice in regards to following through and seeing that happen,” said Fair Manager Suzanne Holcomb.

For any questions about the Hillsborough County Fair or the two events, contact the fair office at 737-FAIR or Holcomb at For more information about the Youth Livestock Shows, email Livestock Director Serena Stratton at For more information about the Harvest Queen Scholarship Pageant, call Pageant Director Kelli Messick at 737-FAIR.

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Taylor Wells
Taylor Wells is a relatively recently hired news reporter for the Osprey Observer, having been with the paper only since October 8, 2018. Aside from writing articles, he helps edit and upload them to the Osprey Observer site, and is always available to help other staff members in his spare time. He graduated from Saint Leo University with a bachelor’s degree in professional writing and lives in Valrico.