No rides, food or big events: Greene County fair will now be Junior Fair only

Inspections at the Greene County Fair

caption arrowCaption
Inspections at the Greene County Fair

The Greene County Agricultural Society announced there will be no rides or grandstand events at next week’s fair because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement was made late Monday night before Gov. Mike DeWine ordered on Tuesday that all county fairs in Ohio starting July 31 and after will be junior fairs. Fairgoers will also have a curfew, DeWine announced, of 10 p.m., with exception of a show going later than that.

“Some of the fairs have done a very good job, but at this point it has become increasingly clear that we cannot have a regular, safe fair in the Ohio summer, the COVID summer, of 2020,” DeWine said at the Tuesday press conference. “We have seen outbreaks connected with fairs, we’ve seen fairs not enforcing any kind of mask order at all... and that’s just a real shame, so it’s clear we cannot have full fairs that are safe.”

Before DeWine’s press conference on Tuesday, Miami and Darke counties were still planning to have full fairs.

The Miami County Fair posted on their Facebook page: “Today’s announcement from the Governor was quite shocking for ALL involved. I ask that you please give the fair board a chance to gather their thoughts and prepare to answer questions as there will be many. Please stay tuned as I am certain the board will have information available soon. Thank you for working with us during this time.”

The Miami County Fair is scheduled for Aug. 14 through 20. The Darke County Fair is scheduled for Aug. 21 through Aug. 29.

“None of these decisions are easy,” said Laurie Fox, spokeswoman for Greene County Public Health. “We have family members who are affected by this decision, too. But this is about doing what is best for the health and safety of our county.”

The Greene County Fair will be from Aug. 4-8 and will be a junior fair only. Face masks will be required for those who are 10-years-old and older.

In a video posted to the Greene County Fairgrounds’ Facebook page, Kala Benton, director of the Greene County Agricultural Society, said they have had to make these changes due to restrictions from the health department. Benton said the Greene County Health Department asked on Monday night that those changes be made.

Greene County is currently an “orange county,” or at a Level 2 risk level, according to the state health department’s data.

Jeff Webb, environmental health director for Greene County Public Health, said he recommended that the fair eliminate grandstand events.

Webb said Greene County Public Health’s approach is to “follow state guidance and to be consistent with our partners in other counties.”

“I felt there was an issue with having so many people gathered in the stands,” Webb said.

Webb said before making that recommendation, he also talked with Clark County about what they did for their county fair. Clark County also eliminated grandstand events and primarily held junior fair events.

There will still be livestock shows and sales at the Greene County Fair. There will be no junior calf scramble, home arts show or derby.

ExploreSome area counties still plan on fairs this summer

“This is going to be a show for our junior fair to show their animals and sell their animals with limited food vendors,” Benton said in the video.

Bleachers will be removed, so those watching the shows will be asked to bring their own chairs. Children showing animals can have up to 10 guests.

There will still be camping for anyone who has already reserved their spot.

Webb said the Greene County Fair has been “doing their due diligence” when it comes to making sure bathrooms and other often touched places are sanitized.

“I think they made an appropriate decision. They want to keep people safe,” Webb said.

The Greene County Agricultural Society could not be reached for comment.

The price of admission is $5 or $3 with a non-perishable, canned good, Benton said in the video.

About the Author