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June 13, 2021

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2021 Clark County Fair canceled due to pandemic

By , Columbian Web Editor
Published:

The Clark County Fair Board announced Friday that it is canceling this summer’s fair for the second year in a row due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The midway rides, pigs, chickens and Clark County Dairy Women’s milkshakes will return Aug. 5-14, 2022, according to a press release.

The board made the decision based on “the recent trend of increasing infection rates, the continuing safety concerns for volunteers, staff, and community partners,” the release stated. The fair had been scheduled for Aug. 6-15.

“We strive to provide a venue where people can come together and enjoy the fair in all the aspects that they associate with the fair, which historically results in large crowds in relatively small spaces such as our midways, the grandstands, carnival area and food court,” John Morrison, fair manager and CEO, said in the statement.

Under current COVID-19 safety guidelines, “we would be challenged to monitor and maintain distance and the health and safety for our guests and volunteers,” Morrison said.

Typical turnout for the 10-day fair is around 225,000 people. The event is Clark County’s largest. 

“We understand that the fair is a unique experience and draws large crowds together in an environment largely incompatible with the physical distancing measures in effect,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, director of Clark County Public Health, which recommended canceling this year.

It was around this time last year that the Clark County Fair Board decided to cancel the event for 2020. At that time, “we remained hopeful the availability of a vaccine would allow us to plan and hold a full event this year. However, as of May 7th, we cannot for certain know if we may end up in a more or less restrictive situation for the fair, this unknown variable requires that we be prudent and postpone, as disappointing as that is for me and my staff,” Morrison said.

Before the pandemic, the last time a fair was canceled was in 1942, during World War II. The one-year closure was followed by smaller “Victory Fairs” from 1943 through 1945.

The Clark County Event Center at the Fairgrounds has begun planning several smaller family-oriented events for the summer. The events will have smaller crowds and separate guidance for pandemic safety. More information will be available at www.clarkcoeventcenter.com.

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