After a year when most county fairs in Ohio were canceled or scaled back, the season of cotton candy and carnival games will kick off Saturday with the Paulding County Fair.
Ninety-five county and independent fairs will be held throughout the state throughout the summer and early fall. Five county fairs will be held in June. Dozens will be held in July, August and September. Three fairs will conclude the schedule in October.
Amid a rise in COVID-19 cases last summer, the state of Ohio ordered that fairs be limited to animal exhibitions and junior fair activities early in fair season. Rides and games were barred from operating on county fairgrounds following the state's order.
County fairs could see a boost in 2021 due to most events surrounding the Ohio State Fair in Columbus being canceled. The fair is only holding junior fair and animal exhibitions this year.
The Ohio Fair Managers Association pressed Gov. Mike DeWine to allow fairs to fully operate this year. The association said that some fairs would cease operations if not allowed to fully operate in 2021.
The Ohio Fair Managers Association sent a letter signed by the leaders of Ohio’s various agricultural sectors urging the governor to allow fairs. Following the letter, DeWine indicated he would allow fairs to operate this year. Earlier this month, DeWine lifted nearly all of Ohio’s COVID-19 restrictions.