INDIANAPOLIS — There will be no traditional county fairs in Rush, Monroe, Owen and Hancock counties this summer
All four counties made announcements Tuesday, one day after Bartholomew County made a similar decision.
In all four cases, the counties will not hold the traditional fair—the one with rides, cotton candy and various other attractions. But they are working on ways showcase 4-H projects, either virtually or in person.
COVID-19 restrictions and concerns are behind all the decisions, which come the week after Purdue Extension, which sets the rules for county 4-H fairs, said the fairs could be held in July if various safety measures were taken.
The Hancock County Fair released this statement:
We believe we will be able to provide our 4-Hers a fair to showcase their projects and show their animals. We agreed to only hold a 4-H fair this year. Unfortunately we will not be able to provide a carnival, food vendors, commercial vendors, or arena events.
There will be many strict rules for all who attend to follow, and the safety of everyone involved is paramount. We will be following all of the guidelines Purdue has given.
The Monroe County Fair issued this statement.
Due to the concerns for the safety and well-being of fair visitors, volunteers, vendors and exhibitors and after significant and thorough consideration, both the Monroe County Fair Board and the Monroe County 4-H Board, have voted not to continue with an in-person Monroe County Fair for 2020.
This decision was made in consultation with multiple members of Monroe County Government including the Monroe County Commissioners, the Monroe County Health Department and Purdue Extension- Monroe County.
The uncertainty around planning for large gatherings, as well as the concerns regarding proper implementation of COVID-19 safety protocols at such a large venue, also contributed to the very difficult decision to cancel this beloved community event.
All is not lost. A virtual showcase of 4-H youth projects will be designed. Additional information will be released once plans are finalized.
In Rushville, the county fair board also announced the cancellation of this year's fair and issued this statement:
Because of the dates we had scheduled, which have to be scheduled awhile in advance, the state guidelines would prevent us from having the fair then! It's almost impossible to get a carnival company in this late to even try to have a decent fair this year. Any track events that would possibly be scheduled will have to be later in the year or held without spectators.
The Owen County 4-H Council issued a statement that read in part:
"Owen County 4-H members will still have the opportunity to display the products of their year of hard work. Livestock shows will be conducted virtually, similar to many that are already being done with success nationwide. The exhibits normally housed in the 4-H Exhibit Hall will be checked in through a drop off system where an in-person judge will evaluate using safety precautions. The option will be made available for families who wish to participate via fully virtual exhibits as well."