BUCYRUS — Officials in charge of organizing and promoting the Crawford County Fair announced Wednesday that this year’s fair is on … for good. It will have a different look and feel due to COVID-19 health restrictions, but for the most part will include the same displays and shows and rides as Crawford County Fairs in the past.
The Crawford County Agricultural Society board of directors met in a special meeting Wednesday, and after receiving new guidelines from Gov. Mike DeWine’s Responsible Restart Ohio, voted to continue with efforts to have a full fair this year.
Fair dates are July 20 through July 25.
Fair officials asked recently for input on whether this year’s fair should go on, and what form it should take, whether it was just junior fair events, a complete fair.
Additional modifications from the board will be announced soon that affect social distancing and other safety concerns.
“The updated guidelines will present some challenges that must and will be addressed,” said a letter released by Roger Auck, president of the agricultural society and Blaine Rowlinson, vice president. “We are confident that the livestock that livestock shows, merchant exhibits, food concessions and midway will have a similar look, with adjustments for social distancing and sanitation.”
Camping also will be offered this year and rides, which return to the fair after a one-year absence, will be included with the price of admission.
“Areas subject to the most change and still under review are the midway, carnival, livestock sale and grandstand events,” the letter stated. “We are working with the Crawford County Health Department to come up with a plan to have a safe and fun fair for all.”
This week, the State Controlling Board approved $4.7 million in funding intended to help fairs comply with COVID-19 health guidelines.
“Ohio’s fairs showcase our vibrant agricultural communities and mark a year of hard work and preparation by so many of our young people involved in 4-H,” state Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, said in a statement in which he also mentioned the Future Farmers of America. “We worked hard to ensure that these events would go on this summer and that families could have a safe but fun experience across Ohio.”
Fairs with a junior fair are eligible for $50,000, while events that do not have a junior element are eligible for $15,000.
“This initiative will allow our fairs to go on as planned,” state Rep. Diane Grendell, R-Chesterland, said in a statement. “Many families and children across our district participate in the variety of events at our fairs so this will be a great moment for our communities to come together while following safety guidelines amid COVID-19.”
Rules put in place by the state of Ohio include:
- Fairgoers will be urged to not congregate in large groups, and Gov. Mike DeWine is telling organizers to redirect foot traffic so that people can only walk in one direction.
- Grandstands can only be at half capacity, and when possible, contestants, fair-goers and staff are urged to remain six feet apart.
- The use of masks is also encouraged, and the guidelines call for enhanced sanitization.
According to a Legislative Service Commission (LSC) analysis, 87 county fairs and seven independent fairs were scheduled for 2020. The Morrow County Fair, set for Aug. 31-Sept. 7, has been cancelled.
The letter from the Agricultural Society went on to urge the community to help this year’s fair to be success.
“Renew your memberships, bring your exhibits to the fair and any business or individual interesting in sponsoring the fair … please reach out to the fair office and discuss the possibilities,” the letter read.
Call 419-562-7936 for more information.