Washington County officials have elaborated on their decision to host a recent livestock event that drew hundreds to the Washington County Fairgrounds.

The Sift, a pig show, was allowed to proceed this past weekend at the Washington County Fairgrounds, but ended up having a far larger attendance than initially expected.

This past Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the Fairgrounds hosted The Sift, a pig show which drew an estimated 200 to 250 participants.  The event also featured a Saturday night cornhole tournament.

When asked why the county allowed an event of this size to occur when events of similar or smaller size have been postponed or cancelled in recent weeks, both County Judge John Durrenberger and Commissioner Joy Fuchs said that primary reasons for the county’s decision were because the event was centered around youth, and did not revolve around social interaction.

The two said Governor Greg Abbott’s order earlier this month giving local governments authority to levy restrictions on outdoor gatherings was not very specific when referring to youth events outdoors.  According to Fuchs, this particular event was already planned before the order from Abbott, and organizers were anticipating fewer than 100 people to attend.  She said organizers actually apologized to the county for any headaches caused by the larger-than-expected turnout, adding they did their best to enforce social distancing across the Fairgrounds.

Durrenberger said the county uses a format similar to the restaurant capacity rule when determining what outdoor events can proceed, making sure to not have people “stacking up on top of each other”.  He said the county considers how many people will be in attendance, if those people will follow social distancing orders, and how interaction between attendees will take place.  He noted that, in the case of the Fairgrounds, the county holds sole authority of deciding what events take place there, but it works with the City of Brenham to decide on other events within city limits.

In the case of the recently cancelled Chappell Hill Volunteer Fire Department barbecue cook-off—which was scheduled for this past weekend—Durrenberger said that event would have been more akin to a “party”, featuring alcohol and close social interaction.  Durrenberger said this event was far different and a lot smaller than any baseball or softball tournaments going on, with Fuchs saying Washington County is not the only place hosting these sorts of livestock events.  In this case, the two felt it important to allow youth to have an outlet with their animals.

*Edit @ 10:05 a.m.* Although Durrenberger was asked specifically about the Chappell Hill Volunteer Fire Department cook-off, he later clarified that his answer was in reference to all cook-offs in general, and did not specifically mention the Chappell Hill Volunteer Fire Department in his answer.

Durrenberger said if people wishing to hold events respect and follow the proper guidelines and capacity rules, they will most likely be allowed to do so.  He said, “We’re not playing favorites.  We’re doing what’s safe for the community and for the people involved.”

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  1. The Chappell Hill vol fire department is one of the best departments in the county, with the largest areas covered! How can the judge Durrenberger say that it is a “party”! We need funds! We missed out on bluebonnet festival and missed out on our cookoff! Are you kidding me? I am so done with politics! Help our county and nation! God bless you and god bless our volunteers, that work for FREE!

  2. Y’all that cried “tell us what to do”, gave up your freedoms when you laid down and allowed this to happen!! Those of us screaming to not allow it tried to warn you!! You have given them the right to control what you do and don’t from now on….Thanks a lot sheep!!

    1. You seem to rant and rail against government and the missteps they are taking, and those who follow what the government enacts. If you are of voting age, and are registered to vote, then in November GET OUT AND VOTE!. We live in a democracy, not an oligarchy. While it may not be to your liking, everyone who is a citizen (and even those that aren’t) have a right to be heard and change the government if they feel the need to. You might even consider running for a position on the anarchy ticket.
      While elected officials’ decisions rest wholly on their shoulders, the fact that they are representative officials rests upon ours, the voters’.

      1. Anarchy ticket? HA! I’m all for LAW and ORDER, but not this pick and choose governmental control!! I rail against the control that the government is gaining that we will never get back in the name of “security”! I vote in every SINGLE election and no if you are NOT a citizen of the United States you have no right to do anything!! Go try that in another country and see how far you get…..You are the anarchist and what is wrong with this country!!

  3. So a fire dept trying to raise money to be able to protect property and life is not important…. but the county and their fairgrounds is…. nice to know… can’t wait for elections to roll around, we as a county need. a fresh start… sure thought we were doing right by getting a new judge… we were wrong.

    1. Well since all the local fire department fundraiser was canceled, the county could help each of the fire departments out by a donation. The fire department still maintained the trucks during the pandemic, still purchasing life saving gear and tools to protect the residents of Washington County.

  4. Are you serious?? There was a cornhole competition at the “pig show” on Saturday afternoon.

  5. Oh my goodness! Where to start??? First of all there is NO WAY ON EARTH THE ORGANIZERS PLANNED ON <100 PEOPLE FOR THIS EVENT. Secondly, Joy Fuchs knows what livestock shows entail, maybe she should enlighten Durrenberger! They are a party in and of themselves!!!! often the little ‘snick’ sound of a beer being opened can be heard from the early hours of the day until the last showbox and chair in a bag is loaded back into the air conditioned trailer😂. Trust me- there was plenty of ‘partying’ going on. It sounds like I have a problem with this show being held but I absolutely don’t. My personal feelings are to lift all restrictions and lets get back to living! However, I find the blatant lack of continuity which authorities use in decision making very distasteful. Y’all should get on the same page before people start challenging your pitiful decision making in the courts.

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