Questions about local fairs in Ohio are starting to be raised after the Ohio Exhibitions Commission announced on Thursday that there will not be an Ohio State Fair this year.
The state fair was scheduled for July 29th through August 9th in Columbus, but the commission cited both public health and financial concerns, including the impact that holding an appropriately socially-distanced fair would have on the annual event’s long-term viability.
The Bryan Times spoke with Matt Kennedy, president of the Williams County Agricultural Society, after the O.E.C. made their announcement. Kennedy says the Williams County Fair is still ready to take place from September 12th through the 19th, but there’s concern that the state or county health departments will establish rules that are difficult to implement or simply call off the event entirely. He added that the county fair has suffered from reduced rental revenues through the coronavirus pandemic, and not holding the fair this year would be a critical blow to the fair board’s bottom line.
In case of limitations being necessary, a junior fair is under consideration, where 4-H members and other youth can hold their usual exhibits, but that would come with very few vendors on the midway and cancel the traditional rides, musical acts, and other events. That would give young participants at least some of the fair experience, but it would also cost the fair board about $100,000 that would not be recovered in same-time revenue generation.
More details are expected soon, as the fair board was scheduled to meet on Thursday.