With the news from Gov. DeWine that he’s expecting county fairs to be open this year, local fair boards are moving ahead with full plans for the summer.
MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS, Ohio — County fair boards across Ohio breathed a sigh of relief when Gov. Mike DeWine gave them the good news that they’d likely be able to resume this summer.
“We’ve all been eagerly awaiting that announcement yesterday,” Tim Fowler, media director for the Cuyahoga County Fair, told 3News.
The governor said things like social distancing, limiting grandstand audiences to 30% and requiring masks may still be required depending on where the state’s case numbers are at that point. However, many fairs are hopeful the situation will be much better come this summer, and are planning for it.
“Right now, the fair board directors are very enthusiastic and excited about planning for a full fair,” Fowler said.
“It’s a whole lot easier to scale a fair back than it is to, if we found out in July or August that we could have a full fair, to try and throw it all together,” Stark County Fair President Dale Klick added.
The Stark County and Cuyahoga County fairs are both in August, so they have the luxury of time that others planning for early summer fairs don’t.
“The people that I don’t envy right now are our friends that are going to be having those early fairs,” Klick said. “If you’re going to have 30% capacity, you can’t make your entertainment work in front of the grandstand. There’s no way that we could have 100 concessioners here,.
That’s just not enough people.”
Even though they are planning for full fairs, some are having conversations about potential changes in case there are restrictions.
The Cuyahoga County Fair says they’re looking at changes from traffic direction to even the way they sell tickets, just to be safe.
“We’re looking at everything from our airflow [to] our traffic patterns,” Fowler said. “We’re going to be looking at the spacing of our concessioners and looking at possibly how we can have open air for our larger groups.”
They’re all changes that’ll be an easy concession to make for fair boards hoping for packed concessions, rides and people in a few short months.
“For all of us, fair-wide, statewide and nationwide, it’s not just something that is a festival,” Klick explained. “It’s something that all of us pour our hearts and souls into it.”
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