After much deliberation and review of current state and CDC guidelines and restrictions due to COVID-19, the Fulton County Fair Board voted Tuesday to hold only the Junior Fair in 2020.
While the decision was difficult, Board members said they appreciate the input and guidance of the Fulton County Health Department, County Commissioners, and Sheriff’s Department. The Board is also working closely with the Ohio State University Extension in Fulton County, Jr. Fair Board, and Livestock Committee to offer the safest and best experience possible for Jr. Fair youth.
Key factors in arriving at this decision include the guidelines set forth and the possible repercussions if not followed and the safety of the community, participants, and volunteers, according to the Board.
The Fulton County Fair normally draws between 20,000 – 85,000 visitors per day.
“The task of ensuring social distancing at these numbers would be nearly impossible, thus creating the need to limit fair attendance every day. The grandstands would be limited to 1,800 spectators, with no or very limited track seating. Vendors and merchants would be required to follow all current regulations and guidelines – adding an additional cost for operation while having a substantially smaller crowd,” said a release from the Fulton County Fair Board.
These tasks would require an army of volunteers, which in the last few years have seen a decrease in numbers.
As one of the largest events in Northwest Ohio the board felt the responsibility to act wisely to keep the community safe and not add additional stress on our first responders and dedicated volunteers. They also felt strongly to put the efforts in supporting our youth through the Jr. Fair.
Many of the details need to be worked out and will be announced soon. At this point however, the Jr. Fair will be open to youth with animal exhibitions and their immediate family members, Fulton County Jr. Fair Advisors including 4-H Advisors and Agricultural Education Teachers, and other pre-designated volunteers. An auction will be conducted. The length an animal can stay on grounds is still being discussed as well as show dates and weigh-in times.
“The Board understands and shares the disappointment this decision will make for the community, but also recognizes that the enjoyment of the Fair so many have come to love and look forward to is not attainable in the current situation,” the Board said in its release. “So, it is with the same determination and commitment that has fueled this Fair for over 160 years that the Board will move forward in planning a great Fair to be enjoyed by all in 2021.”