In lieu of no fair, Alger and Marquette County youth come together for livestock show in honor of fallen firefighter, Ben Lauren

North Central UP

CHATHAM, Mich. (WJMN) – 11-year-old Ella Viau was at the Alger County Fairgrounds Friday showcasing her pig, Oakley and steer, Wesley.

“I like showing my animals and I think showing is really run so I decided to help everybody out and we all put on a show together,” said Ella.

Ella’s livestock is just a couple out of about 80 that were showcased in the first-ever Ben Lauren Memorial Livestock Show.

“They had already worked really hard to be able to raise their animals and start practicing with their animals for the fair,” said event coordinator, Jesie Melchiori. “Once they canceled, we were then given the opportunity to hold still a small livestock show and at the same time all honoring on of our fellow showmen.”

Ben Lauren, a fallen firefighter died on March 13th battling a fire in Forsyth Twp. One of his hobbies was taking care of livestock and showing them at the fair. Organizers were able to honor Ben and his family before beginning the show.

“Thank you very much for being here with us today and giving us the opportunity and the honor to honor Ben,” Melchiori said to his parents at the opening ceremony.

With the reason of the fairs being canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, people were invited to watch online. There were also sanitizing stations spread throughout the fairgrounds.

“So the kids have been really, really smart about it,” said Melchiori. “They’re really excited to be able to have the opportunity here to show.”

It took many hands to put the show on, for youth like Ella, it’s worth it.

“Lots of work and everyone has got to put in effort for it. You got to make sure you’re working with your animals so they don’t run around and you got to put up everything like we all had to help put up the ring there and we all had to make sure animals were good and lots of work goes into.”

Organizers say they plan on making the Ben Lauren Memorial Livestock Show an annual event.

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