On Tuesday, the Highland County Agricultural Society Board voted to have a full 2020 fair, a Wednesday post to the Highland County Fair’s Facebook page stated.
The fair is scheduled for Sept. 6-12.
When asked what a “full fair” entails, Highland County Agricultural Society Board President Mark Baldwin told The Times-Gazette, “In this crazy world, that’s kind of a loaded question. Our plan is to have the fair as close as we can to last year’s. We’ve not canceled any events, and we’re planning on having junior fair and senior fair. As for the particulars about it, we don’t have those exactly — those will be determined by our health department and the governor, I suppose. There are fairs starting to happen, and a lot of junior fair people have lots of questions, and we’re doing the best we can.”
As of now, Baldwin said they still plan to have all of the fair’s usual events, but he isn’t sure what those events may look like by September, but the board is planning to have them in some capacity.
“All these junior fair animals and a lot of senior fair animals — those are projects people already have. They’re working on those,” Baldwin said. “The fair is the time of exhibition — a lot of your work in those exhibits happened before the fair time. We’re still planning on it, so they keep planning on it. We had some deadlines coming up pretty soon, and you have to commit one way or another, and our decision is to commit that we’re going to try to have a full fair as much as we can.”
In a previous interview, Baldwin said the deadline for exhibitors to be in possession of their fair animals has been extended to July 1.
“Most junior fair animals have to be in possession by June 1. ODA [Ohio Department of Agriculture] extended that until July 1 to give people a lot more time to access and make family plans — whether economic, social or whatever,” Baldwin said.
The deadline to tag fair animals has also been extended.
In May, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and then-Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton laid out mandatory and recommended best practice guidelines for Ohio fairs in a four-page document, in which DeWine and Acton recommended that Ohio’s agricultural societies “limit fairs to allow only for 4-H and FFA ‘Junior Fair’ activities.” Fair boards also must collaborate with local health departments to ensure fairs meet all mandatory guidelines, executive orders, and Ohio Department of Health orders.
During an interview in late May, Baldwin told The Times-Gazette that he’d been in contact with Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner, and they’re planning to take a “common sense” approach to the 2020 Highland County Fair.
When possible, DeWine and Acton recommended virtual auctions and judging. They also recommended virtual skillthons.
Mandatory guidelines ask Ohio fair boards to maintain social distancing, thoroughly sanitize high-contact surfaces and facilities, and provide and stock hand-washing stations.
Food concessions and campgrounds must follow guidelines already created for bars, restaurants and campgrounds. Amusement rides should comply with traditional standards as well as hygiene guidelines.
For a full list of fair guidelines, visit coronavirus.ohio.gov.
Find information on the Highland County Fair at highlandcountyfair.org.
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.