MOUNT GILEAD — The Morrow County Junior Fair is planned for Sept. 3-6 after a 17-1 vote by the Senior Fair Board at its meeting Thursday night.
Junior Fair coordinators Shelby Perkins and Lisa Duckworth detailed what went into the decision to make it a four-day event.
“We met, not just Lisa and I ourselves. We had input from junior fair advisers, county extension and some senior fair board members at this session,” Perkins said.
“We discussed what a 2020 fair would look like due to the COVID-19 regulations, sanitation and those kind of things,” she said. “At the conclusion of that we decided to present a four-day, shortened fair to the health department.”
Anthony Shaffer, Senior Fair Board president, stressed that “this is a rough list; it’s not final” and that some tweaking of the proposed schedule could occur.
Some of the nearly 100 in attendance voiced displeasure with the shorter fair, several regarding exclusion of the Born, Bred and Raised (BBR) Class.
“This was a hard decision,” Perkins said. She added that it wasn’t fair to include BBR for some species and not for others.
After a couple heated exchanges, one woman began crying and said, “Please, we all need to get along.”
Another person noted that despite differences of opinion, the goal is to have “something good for the kids.”
Perkins and Duckworth said they would try to have entry form details and other information posted online soon. They pledged to include as much as possible in the four days once they see the total number of entrants.
Stephanie Bragg, Morrow County Health District Commissioner, said she and her staff spent two days looking over the proposal.
“I’m a 4-H kid and I get why 4-H and Junior Fair are important,” she said. “But my job is to keep everyone, including your kids, safe.
“2020 has been a Dumpster fire. Every time you think something is going to go the way you want it to go, something changes. This isn’t going to be perfect, but a four-day plan is the best option.”
There will be no food or camping permitted on the grounds and a “truck in, truck out” procedure will be used for animals. None may leave the fairgrounds and then return.
Bragg emphasized that “if we go purple (Ohio’s Level 4 alert for the coronavirus) right before the fair starts, I’ll say I’m sorry, the fair is over.”
Still projects will be done virtually, according to Becky Barker, Extension Educator 4-H Youth Development with OSU Extension.
Harness racing is set for Monday and Tuesday that week, with several provisions.
There will be no parimutuel wagering and no spectators allowed. Only judges and racing personnel will be on site. The state provides funding through the Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association to conduct racing.
Fair board members said racing has been held without problems at other county fairs this summer.
Ohio Governor Mike DeWine held a conference call with Ohio fair directors and managers Wednesday. He said that after fairs started in June cases of COVID-19 began to rise, Ohio’s Country Journal reported.
“We are now unfortunately seeing the results of some of these fairs,” DeWine said.
At least 22 cases of coronavirus were tied to the Pickaway County fair at the end of June.
Knox County canceled its Senior Fair, set to open July 26. The Junior Fair and harness racing will go on as planned.
The Crawford County Fair was held and a modified Junior Fair in Marion County took place this past week.