BEREA, Ohio — After a year of closures and limited competitions, local county fairs are planning to welcome the public this summer.
“I can’t even express for us how exciting it is to be back in the game,” said Cuyahoga County Fair President Joanne Scudder.
Details on how local fairs may look is still a work in progress and some are expressing confusion about Governor DeWine’s announcement Thursday stating the state fair will be closed to the public this year.
“Because of its size, revenue streams made that decision, but the important thing for me for all of us is that young people will be able to take their projects to the state fair this year,” said Gov. DeWine.
“It was sort of shocking to hear that the state fair was going to alter what they do,” said Scudder.
Dale Click, president of the Stark County Fair, wondered what that could mean for the future of local county fairs.
“We’re not governed to the state fair. We’re not tied to the state fair. It would be foolish of me to say that’s not going to have any repercussions,” said Click.
Both the Stark and Cuyahoga County Fair is expected to proceed this summer. Scudder said during a typical year they welcome about 150,000 guests, this year they will have at least 27 rides.
“We were lucky enough to get both PPP Loans which provide some sanitation equipment, additional sanitation equipment, plexiglass for counters and ticket takers so we feel as though we’re in a good position,” she said.
The Stark County Fair is also planning to proceed with masks, increased hand washing stations, and one way traffic signs to help with the flow of crowds. They average between 83,000 and 85,000 people during a typical fair year.
“The Stark County Fair is going to be going full fair,” said Click. “We’re planning on full fair, full activities, concessions, you’ll be able to come here and get your food. We’re going to have concerts…truck and tractor pulls, demo derby it is going to be a full fair like we have always had in the past after having a year off last year.”
The Ohio Fair Managers Association will meet later month according to Scudder, recommended health and safety precautions could come as a result of the meeting.
“It would take some kind of order from the health department or the governor’s office for us to resend our decision,” said Click.
“It’s such a treat to know that we are slowly getting back to the new normal or whatever normal is going to be,” Scudder.