Highland County Fairboard President Mark Baldwin said Wednesday that the 2020 Highland County Fair has been reduced to five days, among other changes the fairboard continues to explore due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s fair was originally scheduled for Sept. 6-12. But Baldwin said it will now be held Sunday, Sept. 6 through Thursday, Sept. 10.
“With no senior fair activities we don’t need all those days for senior fair events when there’s nothing going on,” Baldwin said.
Ohio Department of Health Interim Director Lance Himes signed a July 30 order limiting county fairs to junior fair activities and animal exhibitions only.
Baldwin noted that livestock sales, held Wednesday through Friday in recent years, will now be held on Wednesday and Thursday in the show arena. Although the exact days and times had not yet been determined, he said chicken and rabbit exhibitors will likely sell their projects on Wednesday with large livestock being sold Thursday.
While junior fair exhibitors will be at the sales without their animals, Baldwin said he expects bidders will be allowed to attend the sales.
“We’re going to keep it as close as we can to how it has been. We’re trying not to eliminate anybody,” Baldwin said. “It’s all subject to change, but this is the plan we’re talking about right now.”
Baldwin said the hope is to have a schedule posted on the fair’s website and Facebook page late this week.
Another change is that there will be no single day ticket sales this year. Baldwin said the fair will be open to the public, but the only way anyone can get in is with a membership pass ($30), season pass ($20) or junior fair pass ($10). Children age 7 and under will be admitted free. He said any of the passes will allow entrance to the fair all five days.
Baldwin said passes can be purchased before the fair at the fairboard office or at the gates during the fair. He said details on where else tickets can be purchased are still being worked out.
There will be no rides, games or merchant booths at this year’s fair, but there will be food and clothing vendors. Baldwin said all vendors will be placed in open air locations with social distancing protocol observed. He said the fairboard was in the process of contacting vendors who had expressed interest, but that he did not know yet how many vendors will be at the fair.
There will also be a fewer number of gates to enter or exit the fair this year. There have been five gates in past years, but Baldwin said this year there will be one or two. He said the green gate, located off Fairground Road, is the only one he is sure will be open.
He said many other details are still being worked out.
“Our plan A and B are nixed, and now we’re down to plan C,” Baldwin said. “We’re going to do the best we can for the public.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.