SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- The Santa Barbara County Fair is now accepting entries for its 2021 Livestock Auction.
On Thursday, DNA kits for all species first became available for students to pick up at the Santa Maria Fairpark.
Kits are due on various dates for different species, including heifers and beef on March 12, sheep, goats and swine on May 7.
Previously, Fair officials announced the livestock auction will remain in a virtual format, similar to last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
There will be no in-person show or auction.
"Everything is virtual," said Autumn Acquistapace,Santa Maria Fairpark Interim CEO. "We went ahead with that because that was the best secure way that we knew we could provide that with the community. We wanted to make sure that whatever we chose to do, it couldn't be cancelled.
The Santa Barbara County Fair Virtual Livestock show is scheduled for July 5-9, while the Virtual Livestock auction is planned for July 15-16.
Each student must submit a YQCA Certificate Number online with their entry.
All entries are due by May 14, 2021 by 11:59 p.m.
In a letter to the public last month, officials said, "There will be no in person show or auction.We are diligently working to ensure the survival of our fair and for that reason we are planning for market sales only, and unfortunately will not be able to offer separate showmanship classes. Small livestock will also not be included as a fair judging is not possible without hands on evaluation of the animals, transportation to processors, and the current restrictions with rabbits."
While the online livestock auction will look similar to last year, there are some significant changes coming as well.
"Different this year is the addition of the show, so we're going to have all of the large market animals will have a show and then adding the industrial arts as well for the auction too," said Acquistapace. "We are expecting a least a couple hundred kids in the auction itself and adding the industrial arts will help that too and I'm hoping we'll have a really great auction."
Acquistapace added the status of the Santa Barbara County Fair remains up in the air.
"We don't want to make a decision on it yet, depending on what happens with our levels," said Acquistapace. "If we can offer something that's interactive, we want to be able to do that. To be able to put together a full-fledged fair, at this point, would be challenging, but it doesn't mean we can't offer something along the lines to just honor what we've done year after year."