Per GCPH guidance, board scales back fair
By Anna Bolton
XENIA — The Greene County Fair will be a junior fair only this year.
According to Kala Benton, director of the Greene County Agricultural Society, in a Facebook video Monday night, the decision to scale back the fair was made Monday based on Greene County Public Health (GCPH) recommendations. On Tuesday afternoon, state restrictions were also announced, limiting all fairs to junior fairs beginning Friday, July 31.
The fair is still scheduled for Tuesday, Aug. 4 through Saturday, Aug. 8.
“We are absolutely thrilled, in these unusual times, to present a smaller version of our fair,” Dan Bullen, Greene County Agricultural Society treasurer, said in a release. “We went above and beyond the state guidelines to protect our fair-goers with masks, social distancing, sanitizing stations and limited access to our buildings, but after consulting with the Greene County Combined Health District they strongly recommended it’s best to scale back.”
Jeff Webb, GCPH environmental health director, said he’s been working closely with fair board members. Per Webb, the health department recommended the elimination of grandstand events based on Ohio Department of Health guidance stating that 2020 fairs should focus on junior fair events and livestock sales. Webb said a COVID-19 outbreak associated with a nearby county fair also played into the recommendation.
The junior fair will feature livestock shows and sales. Each exhibitor will be allowed to have 10 family members or close friends admitted in the barn as spectators only while he or she is in the show ring. There will be no bleachers but if an individual needs to bring a lawn chair, that will be permitted.
Currently, the fair board plans to live-stream shows and sales.
The public is invited and all are expected to wear masks and socially distance. Mask exemptions under the statewide order will be honored, allowing children under 10 and individuals with certain health conditions to forgo wearing facial coverings.
Members of the public will not be allowed in the barns as the shows are in progress but may walk through when no show is in progress. One-way aisles will be set up, social distancing will be required, and touching animals and pens will be prohibited, Bullen said.
The Assembly Building will be closed all week, except for sale nights. Sales will take place in the building with the buyer and one guest. The buyer must have a buyer’s pass. The exhibitor will enter the building when it is his or her turn.
Non-livestock projects will be on display in the Dining Hall, which will be open to the public with one way in and one way out.
The grandstands will be closed. Entertainment, ground acts, and grandstand events have been canceled. Harness races will continue solely for the Harness Racing Association; no members of the public will be allowed to attend and there will be no betting.
There will be no rides or games.
Limited food vendors will be present. Bullen said there would be only about five or six local vendors. Vendor payments will roll over to next year.
Camping is still permitted.
Admission is $5 or attendees can bring a non-perishable food item every day for a reduced $3 daily admission. The food will be donated to a local food pantry. Membership tickets will not be refunded but refunds will be given to those who bought tickets for the Exhibitor Hall or senior fair events.
“We’re doing this for the youth of Greene County. We just request everybody to abide by the rules,” Bullen said. “The good news is we will be back in 2021 bigger and better than ever.”