Big Butler Fair canceled for 2020, Butler Farm Show still on

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Butler County Fair Reserve Champion Lamb
The 2019 reserve champion lamb at the Butler Farm Show. The Big Butler Fair has been canceled for 2020, but the Farm Show is still scheduled for mid-August.

One of the largest agricultural fairs in western Pennsylvania will not go off this year.

The Big Butler Fair board of directors decided May 19 to cancel the fair, scheduled for July 3-11.

In a statement, the board cited state restrictions put on social gatherings due to COVID-19 as the reason.

“Not since the Civil War has the fair been canceled,” said Harold Dunn, board secretary.

This would have been the 165th year for the fair. The nine-day event draws more than 100,000 people from around the region.

Dunn said the decision was made with heavy hearts, but they felt there was no other option given the current restrictions. Instead, they’re looking to 2021, when the fair is scheduled for July 2-10.

“We truly look forward to seeing our ‘fair family” again next year and appreciate your understanding during this time,” Dunn said. 

Butler County is among 37 counties currently in the yellow phase of Gov. Tom Wolf’s reopening plan, which eased some restrictions on businesses, but still limits gatherings of more than 25 people. It is unclear when any county will reach the green phase that would lift gathering restrictions.

No children with 4-H or FFA livestock projects will be impacted as the county’s junior livestock auction isn’t until the Butler Farm Show, held later in the summer. Dunn said the fair serves as a tune-up show for exhibitors. 

The Butler Farm Show, planned for Aug. 10-15, is still scheduled, although the board of directors said in a May 14 statement that modifications would be made. It was unclear what those specific changes would be.

“We are currently problem-solving every situation that is new to us during this difficult time,” the Farm Show board said in the statement. “We appreciate your patience as we work daily to best evaluate the situation and plan for the coming days, weeks and months.The health and safety of our community is a shared responsibility and one that we all must take seriously.”

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Rachel is a reporter with Farm and Dairy and a graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania. She married a fourth-generation beef and sheep farmer and settled down in her hometown in Beaver County. Before coming to Farm and Dairy, she worked at several daily and weekly newspapers throughout Western Pennsylvania covering everything from education and community news to police and courts.

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