MOUNT GILEAD — Morrow County Commissioners approved a motion in support of the Morrow County Fair Board after some discussion about the the recent decision to cancel the 2020 fair.
Commissioners Burgess Castle and Tom Whiston questioned why the fair was canceled. Commissioner Warren Davis explained that there were numerous conditions the fair would have to comply with in order to proceed.
One condition would be to re-do the restrooms; another concern was a question of insurance and lawsuits possible due to anyone who contracted COVID-19.
However, Davis said the board is considering the possibility of a modified junior fair that might only be for a couple days.
Commissioners then approved the motion: “Morrow County Commissioners come out in support of holding the Morrow County Fair or Junior Fair only if it is decided by the Fair Board to proceed.”
Commissioners also voted in favor of the motion to approve the Morrow County Agricultural Society’s application for Beer/Liquor Permits through the Ohio Division of Liquor Control yearly for a period of 12 years from the date of the approval.
Castle said he trusted the judgment of the Fair Board to monitor the use of alcohol at the fairgrounds appropriately.
After the Morrow County Fair was canceled on May 28, residents took to Facebook to voice their displeasure and also to offer assistance in doing something in the way of junior fair shows, similar to what Marion County is proposing.
Some of the posts said they were “heartbroken” over the decision. Others said they were disappointed, but understood the fair board’s rationale.
“Kids work hard all year long to show their animals,” Gary Gelzey wrote.
The Marion County Fair, which was planned for June 29-July, canceled April 30. Junior fair shows are scheduled July 18-25 with more information on sales to come.
The state is releasing guidelines for county fairs that will allow kids to safely show and participate in limited livestock shows and other events, Gov. Mike DeWine said.
That means livestock shows and auctions can take place, as well as art and other exhibits, DeWine said.
“I certainly hope that every fair will be able to find a way, maybe unique to their particular fair, to be able to allow 4-H, FFA and that junior fair, which is really at the heart and soul of the county fairs and is an integral part of what goes on in the summer for all of our counties,” DeWine said.
The guidelines, which will be posted on the state’s website, focus on social distancing, limiting crowds, animal care and welfare and ensuring the health of everyone involved.
The Knox County Fair (July 25-Aug. 1) and Crawford County Fair (July 20-26) presently remain on schedule.
But across Ohio, more than a dozen county fairs have cancelled, from Jefferson County to Butler, Shelby and Franklin counties.
The Ohio State Fair was slated for July 29-Aug. 9 before it was scrapped, citing COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on crowd size.