MOUNT GILEAD — Both the July 3rd fireworks display and the 2020 Morrow County Fair have been canceled.
According to a press release issued Thursday night by the Morrow County Senior Fair Board and the Morrow County Agricultural Society, both events have been called off “after consideration and thoughtful discussion.”
The board cited the current restrictions due to COVID-19 as the reason. This would have been the 170th edition of the fair.
“The board also discussed the health and safety of residents of Morrow County that could be in attendance as either a spectator, participant or volunteer and does not want to be responsible for the spread of illness of anyone involved.”
Both the Junior Fair and Senior Fair were canceled. The fair was to run Aug. 31-Sept. 7 at the Morrow County Fairgrounds.
This includes “amusement rides, camping, commercial vendor spaces, food vendors, Junior and Senior livestock shows, still projects, grandstand events, livestock and pie auctions and all other events that pertain to the Morrow County Fair.”
The board said it decided it was not “financially feasible to provide an adequate fair without grandstand events and other revenue sources.”
The board said it was “one of the hardest decisions that has been made in the 170-year history of the Morrow County Fair but felt it was necessary to preserve the fair for years to come.”
Both the Junior and Senior Fair Boards said they “look forward to a bigger and better fair in 2021 and hope to see all of you there.”
But over the weekend a new Facebook post left the door open for the possibility of a junior fair.
It states: “Jr. Fair options are being reconsidered for 2020. It is still ultimately still up to the family’s decision for all youth projects. This is no guarantee about exhibition and sales, but all options are being considered.
Stay tuned for further updates during the next 30 days.
Representatives from the Sr. Fair Board, Jr. Fair Board, Livestock Sale Committee, 4-H and concerned citizens.”
Gov. Mike DeWine’s Fair Advisory Group released guidelines earlier that day for how county fair boards and agricultural societies can work with county health departments to safely operate junior fairs for kids.
The guidelines focus on maintaining social distancing, limiting crowds, ensuring the health of everyone involved in the junior fair activities, and animal care and welfare.
“The decisions about county and independent fairs need to be made locally because each county and independent fair is unique and has different challenges,” DeWine said at his Thursday news conference.
”Conditions may change over the course of the summer, however, we are asking all fair boards to comply with all of the orders of the Ohio Department of Health and the guidelines for other sectors that would also apply to fairs, such as for food service and rides.”
Regarding the planned July 3rd Independence Day celebration and other activities at the fairgrounds, the board thanked the village of Mount Gilead for their sponsorship of a portion of the fireworks. It said it hopes to work with them next year.