Logan County Fair Board members voted Friday in a rescheduled special meeting to proceed with a modified, six-day exposition that will continue through Friday, July 17, emphasizing junior fair livestock shows and youth 4-H projects.
The proposal will be submitted to the Logan County Health District, and will require approval from health commissioner Dr. Boyd Hoddinott.
Board members wrestled for hours Friday with how best to stage an as-normal-as-possible county fair in the face of onerous health restrictions from the state of Ohio, and a cash-strapped budget with far fewer opportunities to make money during the week of the fair.
There will be no rides or traditional midway activities. There will be no harness racing. Popular grandstand entertainment such as BMX biking and monster trucks are also canceled.
Still, the fair board expressed commitment Friday to putting on a fair that does justice to the hard work put in by the exhibitors, and that also provides opportunities for family fun in a safe and healthy environment.
Expanded camping will be offered along the infield, and on-site parking will be offered on the track. Fair board members hope that some families may take advantage of the opportunity for a more affordable group camping trip.
Many of the usual concessionaires, including local commodity associations are expected to set up. In addition, senior and junior fair board members are discussing ways to conduct family-friendly, socially-distant outdoor activities such as a movie night to help make up for lost entertainment.
“The kids want to do activities of some kind, and they don’t necessarily need the rides and midway, but they want to try and do some kind of activities where we can,” said Justin Bower, 4-H Youth Development Coordinator for the Logan County OSU Extension office.
The fair board intends to make every effort to comply with “mandatory” and “recommended” guidelines issued by state bureaucracies and Gov. Mike DeWine, despite the fact that many of those rules appear to have been written by “city boys,” fair board members said.
Fair board members on Friday promptly dealt with the issue of masks and facial coverings, adopting a safety exception for livestock exhibitors, volunteers and judges because of stated risks related to wearing masks in the show arena in mid-summer heat.
Face coverings will be required in any closed building, such as the fair board office. However, they will not be required in any open building including the show arena and livestock barns with the doors open.
The fair board will comply with recommendations on social distancing and intends to post signs and notices reminding attendees to adhere to current health guidelines.
Spaces will be marked off six-feet apart in the grandstands on the night of the demolition derby. Additional hand-cleaning stations will be installed, and enhanced sanitizing measures for bathrooms and public areas will be implemented, according to discussion.
Money is another major consideration for the fair board.
Even a 10 percent reduction in attendance for the week means the fair board would lose money on the exposition. In the absence of traditional, major draws, the fair board is actively trying to mitigate its financial losses from this year’s fair.
The plan as proposed would cost approximately $34,000 to put on, according to discussion during the meeting. Junior fair livestock shows will cost about $25,000 to conduct, and the demolition derby costs about $9,500 to stage. Insurance costs are leading expenses.
The board has modified its admission prices for the upcoming fair. Daily admission will be $5 each day. A week-long pass costs $20. Parking is $2 per day, and a week-long parking permit is $10.
For season pass information, call the fair office, 599-4178.