Fair safety precautions discussed

Building capacity reductions, social distancing to be in place

By Martin Graham - mgraham@recordherald.com

The Fayette County Senior Fair Board shared more information concerning the upcoming Fayette County Fair — including various guidelines about COVID-19-related social distancing.

“We are going to take the recommendations given to us from day to day from the state of Ohio and the local health department,” Doug Marine, senior fair board vice president, said. “We are recommending distancing and will set up our grandstand to meet the standard of cutting 50 percent of the capacity. We will have sections blocked off and we will make the necessary announcements. We will have continuous encouragement — signage — for people to social distance. Masks are always recommended, but are not required. The situation changes from day to day and in a week it could be different, but for right now that is where we are at. This moment is a moving target, I don’t want to make anything sound like this is it and it’s etched in stone. We will adapt to the current guidelines because we are unsure of what could come down. The governor could say tomorrow that masks are required when you are out in public.”

Senior Fair Board President Bob Schwartz said the board looked at the Pickaway County Fair — which occurred June 20-27 — for an idea of how to move forward, including the standard of only 50 percent capacity in buildings. That fair also included sanitation stations, announcements to continue social distancing and more.

“I think they were doing 50 percent capacity in buildings,” Schwartz said. “They watched the amount of people going into the enclosed buildings. There was no cap on their attendance outside, they just announced social distancing and continued to recommend wearing masks. I am not privileged to the figures, but who I was talking to thought it was pretty close to what they have in the past in terms of attendance.”

Marine also took time to talk about the food vendors — saying that all have been invited back — and mentioned the local health department will inspect and license as they have for years.

“Our food vendors will all be expected to follow the guidance of the local health department,” Marine said. “We want to have a good relationship with the health department so we are working with them on a constant basis and listening to their advice. They have been involved for the last four months. We are also listening to the state of Ohio, the Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Fair Managers Association. So, we have a wealth of information from all of those agencies as we prepare.”

One change Marine and Schwartz wanted to highlight is admission. Last year, the price of admission was $10 and included a ride ticket as well as entry to the fair and its various events. This year, the senior fair board decided to lower the price of admission to $6, but it will no longer come with a ride ticket. Additionally, no weekly passes or wristbands will be sold this year.

“The gate admission has been lowered and includes admission to the grounds,” Marine said. “This year rides are extra. For a ride band for the day, it’s an additional $12 dollars for those who want to ride, or they can now also just buy ride tickets to ride a specific ride on the grounds. This gives fair-goers more flexibility to have the chance to enjoy the rides even if they only want to ride one of them. In the past we have always done it so you pay for all the rides if you want to ride or not. This is something the board has expressed an interest in continuing as we go forward. What we did before was kind of an outdated system. Most county fairs nearby are what we call a ticket fair like this, rather than a pay one price.

Currently, the 2020 Fayette County Fair is expected to be held from July 19-25 and will include the usual junior fair shows and sales with changes. Among the changes is a move from multiple sale days to one single sale day on Saturday, July 25 at 9 a.m. No animals will enter the ring and champions will take photos at a backdrop off to the side of the sale ring. Exhibitors will have one time through the sale ring. Currently, the order of the sale is dairy steer, beef steer, dairy feeder, meat goat, dairy goat, chickens, turkeys, rabbits, lambs and hogs.

Fair hours are Monday through Saturday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m., and rides will operate daily from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Stay with the Record-Herald for more coverage of the Fayette County Fair. Check out more information from this interview in a future edition paper.

Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy.

Building capacity reductions, social distancing to be in place

By Martin Graham