SPRINGFIELD, Ohio — Ohio county fairs this year will not be what we’ve known them to be. Some counties have decided to cancel this annual event due to COVID-19, while others have decided to move forward with plans to have one.

And that’s the case for the Clark County Fair in Springfield. Clark County Fairgrounds Executive Director Dean Blair said it would be ideal to have a full-on fair from July 24 to July 31.

    What You Need To Know

    • Clark and Warren County Fair boards plan to still have fair activities

    • Clark County plans to have a full fair

    • Warren County plans to just have a junior fair

    • They will finalize plans by the beginning of July

“We’re going to have to have to make decisions this first week of June that are predicated on what the laws are at that time and predicated on what is good financial judiciary responsibility then,” said Blair.

If they have this fair it could cost them half a million dollars to put on. But there’s still uncertainty around whether it could actually happen.

“The laws don’t change or the laws reverse and all of a sudden we can’t have admission or can’t have that fair, we’ve lost a half a million instead of the hundred grand for the junior fair, we could literally break the agricultural society,” he said.

And it’s not just the Clark County Fair Board that could feel the heat if they don’t plan this event right. 

On Monday night, the Warren County Agricultural Society voted to move forward with just a junior fair instead of full county fair from July 20 to July 25. ​

Warren County Agricultural Society President Gene Steiner says this event is essential for the 800 plus youth that participate every year. 

“We felt it was important to give them an opportunity for them to finish what they started this year, to finish their projects,” said Steiner.

It will cost the board about $25,000 to put on this year’s junior fair. 

There won’t be any rides or other activities outside of the usual junior fair. But they plan to charge admission.

“Yes, we need a revenue stream,” said Steiner. “So, whether it’s going to be 2 or 5 dollars a person to come through the gate to experience our junior fair this year, I think it’s important to know how many people come through the gate for this event.”

But Steiner says nothing is set in stone just yet as far as the junior fair is concerned.

“At this point, it will continue to be a conversation of how we manage all of this until the time the fair opens,” he said. “But I feel very confident in the strength of our board, the maturity and intelligence of our exhibitors and whatever public wants to come and participate, we will have to manage them as well.”

Both county boards say they’re doing all they can to prepare for these big events in July, keeping in mind the safety guidelines put in place by the state. 

“It’s very much our stewardship and our responsibility to make sure that we don’t just do this fair, we do the next 100 fairs,” said Blair. “And that’s very much our focus.”