COLUMBIANA CO., Ohio (WKBN) – This year was supposed to be the 175th Columbiana County Fair but Wednesday evening, the county’s Agricultural Society decided to cancel.
The Junior Fair is also canceled.
“This is the biggest decision the fair board is ever going to make in their life,” said director Paul Lease.
People expressed their emotion before taking a vote during the Zoom meeting.
“I love that fair,” Lease said. “I want to see us put one on if we can.”
Emre Gott, a member of the Junior Fair Board, also made a plea.
“What are we going to do if the virus sticks around? We are going to have to find a way around it anyways so why not start with the fair?”
For 4-H kids, this means they won’t be able to show their projects or animals they raised.
“This year has already been terrible,” Gott said. “People have canceled shows before the fair, canceling senior graduations and canceling anything fun we can do.”
Then it came down to a vote — the decision was nearly unanimous to cancel the fair.
“It’s a sad day for all of us,” said John Wolf, president of the board. “While some of us don’t think there’s anything to the virus, there’s still others that have a great concern.”
The decision was made after officials with the Columbiana County Health Department met with the fair board to talk about their concerns.
“The safety of the Columbiana County Fair’s visitors, participants and community is the highest priority in producing the annual fair,” the board said in a statement. “After seeking guidance from the Columbiana County Health Department officials and taking direction from the state and national health agencies, who were a large part of our decision-making here, it became clear that cancellation was the prudent choice for the fair to do its part to improve community health and safety, and reduce the cycle of infection.”
The Columbiana County Fair is expected to return in August 2021.
When we checked with them last week, they were still planning on having the fair in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We’re not the first fair in the state to cancel,” Wolf said. “I don’t believe we will be the last this year.”
The Trumbull County Fair also decided to cancel this year.
The Canfield Fair is still on for this summer.
Wolf said the Columbiana County Fair is planning a fair food drive on the fairgrounds. He is going to work with the county health director but for now, it’s scheduled for June 12-14.
Editor’s note: The Columbiana County Health Department did not recommend the fair cancel. It just met with fair officials to talk about their concerns.