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Ottawa County Fair opens under coronavirus health protocols

Many events and activities had to be cancelled to ensure social distancing.

OTTAWA COUNTY, Ohio — The coronavirus has changed a lot of our lives in the recent months, including how we gather at social events like summer fairs. 

Monday, the 56th annual Ottawa County Fair opened.

This year looks a bit different though.

Mask are recommended, but not mandated, yet.

And the new First Energy pavilion will not host concerts this year.

Many more cuts had to be made to ensure fair-goers and exhibitors stay safe, including the cancellation of the biggest grandstand event: the annual tractor pull.

"So, as far as grandstand events go, that was a financial decision primarily. That it's such an expensive event that [...] When you cut the grandstand capacity, it really cuts in on being able to pay for that event," said Zack Avers, president of the Ottawa County Agricultural Society

Credit: Jon Monk
The midway of the Ottawa County Fair is far less crowded in 2020

But, admission to the fairgrounds is free.

Plenty is still going on, including harness racing and a demolition derby.

And, all livestock showings are continuing, with many of the animals not being kept overnight at the fairgrounds to free up as much space as possible.

The entire week will be capped off with a large, socially-distanced square dance.

"Open the barn doors and use the midway and everything since it's not as crowded as normal. We're going to give the kids something that they're used to and a fun event to wrap up fair week," said Avers.

The Ottawa County Fair is scheduled to run through Saturday, July 25.

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