WILMINGTON — Even more than other years, the ultimate success of the 2020 Clinton County Fair will depend upon the fair-goers and those taking part, according to local organizers and public health officials.
On Wednesday Fair Board President Scot Gerber said, “We just want people to come out and enjoy the program. We’re working very hard to try to put this event on for the community, and we appreciate the support we’ve been given.
“We know there are people out there who are concerned, and we completely understand their concerns,” said Gerber. “But we’re trying to do what’s best for the community, and the consensus so far is that this program needs to move forward and give everybody something to do.”
Plans call for pretty much a full fair, including rides and shows, the same number of food vendors, harness racing with pari-mutuel betting, and of course livestock contests among 4-H and FFA youth.
“We hope this fair looks as normal as any other fair, except with the social distancing guidelines and those type of things,” said Gerber.
Among the basic guidelines for fair-goers to keep in mind — whether it’s in the grandstand or livestock barn bleachers or a lawn chair setup or on the midway — are that there shouldn’t be more than 10 people in a clustered grouping, and then those groups themselves should be separated by at least six feet.
He said fair officials are asking the public to use common sense and practice public health measures. And to that end, fair-goers will get reminders. The 2020 Clinton County Fair Health & Safety Plan submitted to the county health department states there will be frequent public address sound-system announcements on the fairgrounds, in barns, and show arenas to encourage six feet of social distancing and no large clusters of people.
Face coverings will be optional at the fair, and no one is being mandated to wear a face mask, said Gerber. Face coverings will be available for fair volunteers and employees, but attendees need to bring their own if they want to wear one.
Additional hand-sanitizing stations will be placed near high traffic areas, including concessions. Restroom doors will not be closed to allow for touchless entry and exit (privacy however remains intact from outside view).
A private company, Caribou Sanitation, will arrive after-hours every night to perform a fine-mist fog sanitizing of high-touch surfaces such as grandstand seating, chairs, and bleachers.
In answer to a question, Gerber said all livestock shows designated in the schedule as an open show will still be open to out-of-county exhibitors, other than the rabbit show.
Like restaurants, concession trailers are expected to have six-foot spacing marks for those waiting in line to order.
In addition to the health measures that are in place, Gerber said fair organizers are counting on everyone to do their best on the public health guidelines to protect one another.
Health Commissioner comments
On Tuesday afternoon, Clinton County Health Commissioner Pam Bauer said Gerber has been very proactive in working with the health department, and the Junior Fair Board has also worked diligently with the health department to put on a safe Junior Fair.
The health commissioner added, “The citizens of Ohio and the citizens of Clinton County, through the voice of their elected officials, have exclaimed that they want some local control over how things look post ‘Stay at Home Orders.’ The County Fair is one of those things and a critical component to lives of an agricultural community, such as Clinton County.
“Clinton County citizens are being given the choice to attend their County Fair. The Clinton County Fair Board with consultation from our office, is working hard to provide as safe of a County Fair as possible in this COVID-19 world. It is up to the citizens to evaluate their own risk. They are strongly encouraged to follow this guidance for their own safety along with the safety of their family, friends and loved ones.
“Ultimately, it is up to the citizens of Clinton County to keep us at Yellow Level 1 under the Ohio Public Health Advisory System,” Bauer concluded.
Reach Gary Huffenberger at 937-556-5768.