The Muskingum County Fair Board decided July 13 to cancel the 2020 fair, just under a month after the board announced it was planning on a full fair with modifications.
In its July 13 Facebook announcement, the board cited “unattainable restrictions” put in place by the Muskingum County Joint Unified Command and additional guidelines from the county health department, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dave Kreis, vice president of the fair board, told Farm and Dairy the main issue is the recent spike in new cases in Muskingum County. With the school year starting up again soon, the board did not want to risk causing issues for schools.
“We just felt like we could not keep it safe enough for everybody and get a big enough crowd in there to pay for everything,” he said. “If we had not seen that spike in cases in our area, we probably would have been OK.”
The board’s initial decision in June was based on the guidance for county fairs from Gov. Mike DeWine’s office, Kreis said. The state, however, left room for local health departments to also have input on their county fairs, which also factored into the board’s decision to cancel.
“Our plan … was based on individual responsibilities,” Kreis said. “That didn’t meet the criteria.”
The health department, Kreis said, wanted the board to have a plan for enforcing social distancing and other rules designed to keep the fair safe at the fairgrounds.
“To that level, it would be very difficult to enforce,” he said. “When you have a crowd on the grounds of 5,000 people or more, how are you going to follow them around all day long and make sure they’re doing what they’re supposed to be doing?”
STAY INFORMED. SIGN UP!
Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!