In an effort to help reduce the spread of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture issued a quarantine order that banned exhibition of poultry and poultry products at Pennsylvania fairs. To that end, the traditional poultry shows and egg judging contests at the Lebanon Area Fair have been canceled for 2022. 

“Unfortunately, we have been through this before,” said Dana Lape, Poultry Committee Chairman and leader of the Lebanon County 4-H Poultry Club, referencing the 2015 ban on poultry exhibitions due to the avian flu spreading at that time. “But we created a program back then to keep our exhibitors involved and make sure there is still a poultry presence at the Fair.”

Poultry exhibitors will display 8×10 photographs of their project animals – chickens, turkeys, ducks, guinea fowl, etc. – and Fairgoers are encouraged to vote for their favorite with a quarter. The Poultry Committee is raising those funds for THON, the Penn State student-run philanthropy committed to enhancing the lives of children and families impacted by childhood cancer.

“We encourage you to vote early, often, and generously in the Poultry Barn this year so that together we can make a significant donation to the charity,” Lape said. 

Two Lebanon County children with ties to 4-H have been “THON Families” in recent years. Landon Kreider, son of Lebanon County 4-H alumnus and current 4-H Livestock Club leader Brian and wife Jill Kreider, beat leukemia in 2015 after a brave three-year battle. August “Gus” Bomgardner was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancerous tumor called ATRT in April of 2021. Gus is the three-year-old son of Joel and Greta Bomgardner – both Lebanon County 4-H alumni. Greta is in fact a past Lebanon Area Fair Queen. Gus is currently tumor free!

The Fair’s poultry show typically includes 400-500 birds and 50+ egg exhibits. Despite the quarantine order, Lebanon County 4-H Poultry Club members are continuing to meet, care for their birds, and learn more about raising the highest quality poultry products that they can.