(WKBN) – Labor Day is the unofficial end to summer and it’s also right in the heart of fair season. In a normal year, Friday would be day three of the Canfield Fair. But this year, the COVID-19 outbreak has hurt businesses that make money from working the Valley’s fairs and festivals.
“It’s been horrible. It’s been absolutely horrible. We went from having 36 fairs and festivals to having two,” said Tim Bortner, CEO of Bortner Shows Midway.
For some, the impacts have been less severe. Food vendors like Molnar’s Concessions have been able to keep their costs down.
“I was expecting worse. We picked up things that we normally don’t do because of not traveling,” said Jim Molnar, co-owner of Molnar’s Concessions.
For ride operators like Bortner Shows Midway, not everyone can travel and a busy schedule is critical to making money.
“Other vendors, they are able to move to other states as well. Some carnival companies are able to go to other states and set up. We can do Pennsylvania but not Ohio,” Bortner said.
Molnar Concessions has been able to reduce its losses by setting up pop-up stands and serving private events.
“We have picked up locally a lot of small things like going to the nursing homes and doing small graduation parties,” Molnar said.
Bortner believes the negative effects of a lost 2020 season could also be felt next year.
“I also think that we’re also going to see an increase in prices for wristbands and tickets, and food prices are going to go up at these fairs and festivals,” Bortner said.