Fairs and Festivals Rules

Offical downloadable Document (PDF) from WV Dept of Agriculture

Fair, Festival & Purebred Sale Regulations & Recommendations


Livestock must conform with the State of West Virginia Department of Agriculture Health Regulations for livestock. The Fair Board representative will review health papers for all animals before the animal is unloaded at the fair. All livestock must be gentle and halter broke, trained and ready to show.


Feed and equipment shall not be stored in such a way as to hinder viewing of animals or block aisles. All livestock is to be kept from the front of the barn back and inside the road.

Animals must not be fed nor watered before registration weigh-in. No weight deduction will be made from live weight. Official weigh-in will be as animal comes off the vehicle at registration. If animals do not make weight, they may stay for showmanship to complete their project; however, the animal must be removed by the close of fair on the day of showmanship.

All exhibitors must provide feed and feed pans for their animals. All animals must be watered and fed at least twice each day the animal is on the fairgrounds. Animals are the responsiblity of their 4-H/FFA owner until the animal is removed from the fairgrounds. It is the responsibility of the exhibitor to see this is done until the animal has left the grounds after the sale. Animals’ stalls must be cleaned at least twice each day including the last day of the fair and again after animals are removed on Sunday. Failure to properly care for or mistreatment of any animal being exhibited shall result in forfeiture of any awards and disqualification from future participation. ALL 4-H  EXHIBITORS MUST HAVE A 4-H ENROLLMENT CARD ON FILE WITH WVU EXTENSION OFFICE/FFA ADVISOR BY JANUARY 1ST OF FAIR YEAR.

No steroids of any type will be permitted. If animals are found to have been given steroids, the 4-H/FFA exhibitor will forfeit their ability to show/sale livestock at the Putnam County Fair.

This project is the 4-H/FFA exhibitor’s project and they are required to feed, water and clean the stall. Parents and guardians are prohibited from doing these activities for the 4-H/FFA exhibitor. If there is a problem and the 4-H/FFA exhibitor cannot do these chores, then the livestock committee needs to know. The 4-H/FFA exhibitor may ask another 4-H/FFA exhibitor to assist them for that time and later return the favor. The barn area must be cleaned before the opening of the fair each day.


All animals must be shown in natural state. Animals may be clipped/trimmed; however, NO grooming products will be permitted. All animals are to be washed and dried on show and sale day. Any 4-H/FFA exhibitor who uses grooming products will be disqualified. Regular fly spray may be used to prevent flies and Woolite may be used on sheep as the shampoo. No dies or coloring will be permitted.


ALL animals must be wormed prior to the fair. Types of wormers and dates that they should be wormed by will be provided during tagging.


The required 4-H show and sale dress code of blue/black jeans and white button-up shirts will be strictly enforced. There is also a need to wear boots. No open toe shoes, sandals, or flip-flops allowed when handling animals. Failure to comply will result in forfeiture of privilege to participate (show/sell) in future. The exhibitor’s assigned entry number must be displayed in the ring when showing 4-H/FFA livestock. Shirts are to be tucked into jeans. No midriffs showing. No hats nor gum chewing when show. NO TOBACCO USE ALLOWED.


All animals must be shown by the owner. In the event of an injury to an exhibitor while the show is in progress, the division chairperson shall select a 4-H/FFA youth to show the animal for the injured exhibitor.

To insure the opportunity for 4-H/FFA livestock show exhibitors to finish fitting on their own, it as asked that all adults adopt a “hands-off” policy on show day. This is not to mean that parents, extension workers, or other volunteers may not supervise these 4-H/FFA exhibitors. Any 4-H/FFA exhibitor may receive assistance in moving his/her animals to and from the show areas. The 4-H/FFA exhibitor is expected to be present and to be the caretaker and handler of their 4-H/FFA livestock project animal.

In all situations, the livestock chairperson will have the right to excuse any animal in either 4-H/FFA or open classes of livestock that he feels could create a hazard or danger to itself, exhibitors, spectators and/or other animals on the fairgrounds. The Livestock Committee Chair will dismiss any animal from the fairgrounds which is deemed to be “extremely” over or underweight.



An entrance fee of $2.00 must accompany all entries.

Three percent of gross sales will be collected by the Fair for the sale of each animal sold. Entries must be in strict compliance with the entry requirements as listed in the Fair catalog.

4-H members must be an active member of a Putnam County 4-H Club enrolled through the County Extension Office and must be nine years old or in the third grade and must not have reached their 21st birthday by January 1st of the fair year, to show any saleable livestock – steers, swine, calves or sheep.

In cases where the 4-H/FFA exhibitor raises, a “back-up” animal project, they must select the one they intend to show prior to registering at the Fair. The project animal across the scales for weigh-in is the one that will be eligible for the show. Bring only one project animal to fair for weigh-in on registration day.


All market saleable shows will be judged under the DANISH SYSTEM. The Danish System is where each exhibit is judged on its own merit. By judging this way, if every exhibit is worthy of a blue ribbon, they will receive it. Depending on the exhibit, they could be all blue, red or white, but every exhibit will receive a ribbon.

Animals may be divided into two or more classes depending upon the numbers present such as heavyweight, lightweight, etc. These animals will be assigned to classes in such a manner as to make the classes approximately equal in numbers. In all classes of livestock. the judges decision will be final.


  • Grand Champion……….Banner

  • Reserve Champion…….Banner

  • Blue Rosette……………$5.00

  • Red Rossette…………..$4.00

  • White Rossette………..$3.00


Any exhibitor not wishing to sell his/her animal must notify the 4-H/FFA Livestock Chairperson and 4-H agent /FFA advisor (in writing) by the day the animals are registered. In the event the animal is judged Grand or Reserve, the animal must be sold. 4-H/FFA exhibitors are instructed not to solicit return of purchased animals from the purchaser. Any 4-H/FFA exhibitors who agrees to sell an animal at the auction must agree not to ask the buyer or buyers at any time before, during or after the auction for the return of the animal. Any 4-H/FFA exhibitor doing this will forfeit his/her privilege to participate in the program the following year. Buyers are being instructed to notify Fair Board members if this occurs.


  1. Animals are auctioned by the pound during the livestock sale. For example, a bid of $1.00 on a 100-pound animal means you are prepared to pay $100.00.

  2. Every saleable animal will sell one time.

  3. Animals offered for resale will be sold on paper at the end of the sale on a rotational basis in order as they appear on the sale sheets. If the animal for resale does not sell, the animal will be sent to market and the proceeds will go into the fair general fund. EACH 4-H/FFA ANIMAL WILL BE RESOLD ONLY ONE TIME.


In accordance with WV State Fair rules, the designated weights for animals will be the weights required to achieve to show and sell the animal. 4-H/FFA exhibitors whose market livestock projects do not meet the required weight will be allowed to keep the animal on the fairgrounds until the day of the Showmanship Contest to give the youth the opportunity to participate in Showmanship. The animal must be removed from the fairgrounds immediately following the Showmanship Contest. Overweight and underweight animals will not show and will not sell.


It is an honor and a privilege to be able to exhibit your 4-H/FFA livestock project at the Putnam County Fair. This award will be given to the youth exhibitor who takes his project seriously from the beginning by completing reports and submitting them on time, as well as displaying himself/herself, his/her project, and his/her stall area with pride during the entire week of the fair.

Exhibitors are encouraged to take pride in their projects and in themselves and to display a positive image of the 4-H/FFA livestock program in Putnam County and the State of West Virginia.

The winner in each livestock division (including rabbits) will receive a trophy. The winners will be announced at 5:30 prior to the 4-H/FFA Livestock Auction on Friday night.


An award will be given to the exhibitor who has the highest placing “Home Grown” animal in each division (except rabbits). The animal must have been born and raised on the exhibitor’s farm and registered with the 4-H office when registration papers are due.

  • Steers: January 1st

  • Lambs, hogs, feeder calves, replacement heifers: May 1st

West Virginia Department of Agriculture

Kent Leonhardt, Commissioner

Animal Health Division

James Maxwell, DVM State Veterinarian