FULTON COUNTY, OHIO, Ohio — The Fulton County Fair Board announced this year the fair will be Junior Fair only due to COVID-19 concerns.
The Fulton County Fair is the biggest in our area.
The Ohio Department of Health recently approved the reopening of the state's county fairs and animal exhibitions.
However, Fulton County Fair officials say that due to the large crowds the fair draws every year, there would be no way to practice safe social distancing.
"Anyone who has attended the fair knows the crowds this great event draws - between 20,000 and 85,000 people per day," the fair board said in a statement. "The task of ensuring social distancing at these numbers would be nearly impossible, thus creating the need to limit fair attendance every day."
The grandstand would be limited to 1,800 spectators with no or very limited track seating. Vendors and merchants would also be required to follow all current regulations and guidelines, adding an additional cost for operation while having a smaller crowd attending the fair.
The fair could face possible repercussions if the guidelines set forth by Ohio for state fairs aren't followed.
The fair board says this was one of the hardest decisions to make, and that it's working with the Ohio State University Exenstion in Fulton County, the Jr. Fair Board and Livestock Committee to make the Junior Fair as safe and successful as possible.
"The Board felt strongly to put the efforts in supporting our youth through the Jr. Fair," the fair board's statement said.
Although the board says many details for the Jr. Fair need to be figured out, at this point the fair will be open to: youth with animal exhibitions and their immediate family members, Fulton County Fr. Fair advisors, including 4-H advisors, and agricultural education teachers and other pre-designated volunteers.
An auction will be conducted, although the length an animal can stay on the grounds is still being discussed, as well as show dates and weigh-in times.
The fair board says the finalized plan for the fair will be announced soon.
"The Board understands and shares the disappointment this decision will make for the community, but also recognizes that the enjoyment of the Fair so many have come to love and look forward to is not attainable in the current situation. So, it is with the same determination and commitment that has fueled this Fair for over 160 years that the Board will move forward in planning a great Fair to be enjoyed by all in 2021," the fair board concluded.