On Christmas mornings, Ryan Tammaro, 10, and his brother Ben, 8, are up tending to their animals before they open their gifts. Like all the Maine 4-H children and teenagers who raise animals, it’s a job that they do every day, 365 days a year, whatever the weather, holiday or not.

One of the most cherished rewards for their work is the chance to show off their animals and spend time with their friends at Maine’s agricultural fairs. This year, because of the coronavirus epidemic, all but two of the 25 fairs in the Maine Association of Agricultural Fairs (MAAF) are postponed until next year.

For Natalie Domin, 17, this summer was her last season to show as a 4-H’er. She spoke for many when she said she was “pretty disappointed.” But Natalie, who won an MAAF scholarship this year and plans to attend the University of Maine in Orono and major in animals and veterinary science, also noted that there’s plenty she can do as an adult volunteer.

Here are a few of the hard-working 4-H kids to look for next summer, when, we hope, the fairs, in all their fried dough, pig-racing glory, will be back.

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