Fairs in Indiana could be allowed to open on or after the 4th of July with some restrictions under Governor Eric Holcomb’s Back on Track Plan. Several local fairs have started making decisions about whether or not to open this summer amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Several local fairs have announced cancellations over the past few days. In a Facebook post, the St. Joseph County 4-H Fair announced Wednesday their decision to cancel. A virtual fair will be held in its place. Board members say it isn’t financially or logistically practical to safely host an in-person fair this summer.
The Starke County 4-H Fair is also cancelled for similar reasons.
But the Elkhart County 4-H Fair is holding off on making any decisions just yet. That fair is scheduled to run from July 24th to Aug. 1st. Miranda Muir is the general manager for the Elkhart Fair.
“It is sort of a benefit that we have longer to play the wait and see game," Muir says. "It gives us a little bit more time, but we are all dealing with the same problems and issues and concerns.”
Muir says the fair is about family and tradition so the decision is being taken seriously.
“We’re worried about our legacy and our future as much as we are about the fair today," she says. "We want to be here for years to come, so we want to be good stewards of the money we have and make smart decisions.”
Muir says if they decide to have the fair, it will look a lot different than past years.
Purdue University issued some restrictions and guidelines fairs must follow, like providing hand sanitizer and taking temperatures of fairgoers to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak.
Muir says while she understands why those rules are in place, it would be costly and difficult to enforce.
She says several factors are being looked at like the cost of implementing the new COVID-19 guidelines and if the fair would still be fun for families with restrictions in place. The Elkhart County Fair board members are expected to make a decision in the coming weeks.
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