OTTAWA — The fate of the Putnam County Fair is in the hands of the Putnam County Fair Board. The fair is scheduled to run June 22-27.
The board will decide whether the fair will remain open or not at a public meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 2 at the fairground’s Merchants Building.
Last week, Gov. Mike DeWine announced guidelines that fairs must follow if they will be allowed to open but, on Friday, Ohio Health Director Dr. Amy Acton extended an order which contradicts those guidelines and closes most recreation and entertainment facilities through July 1 and that includes “fairs.”
Even so, Putnam County’s Fair Board is going to discuss their next step.
“I know there’s going to be no rides and no games,” said Nathan Meyer, fair board president. “I talked to the ride company and he can’t afford it. He said we’re the only fair up until the middle of August that’s going (or was planning) to have rides. Everything after us had already canceled and he said ‘I can’t do it.’”
If the board decides to hold the fair anyway it won’t look like the fairs in year’s past.
“It’s most likely going to be livestock shows and food vendors and we’re going to figure out if we can have like the demo derby and truck and tractor pull, if we can even do those two grandstand things,” Meyer said. “I’m pretty sure nothing’s going to happen in the entertainment tent.“
Meyer indicated a decision would not likely be delayed past the fair board meeting.
“We’ve got to give the food vendors time to figure out if they want to come or not. I’ve had some of them already (cancel). One said she can’t get product and another one’s having problems getting product and he’s worried about lawsuits,” Meyer said.
Having a pared-down fair could be disastrous financially for the fair board.
“We as a fair only make maybe $18,000 and we pretty much need that to pay for insurance. Our liability insurance is $15,000,” Meyer said.
Having to buy hand sanitizer and masks and do everything the Ohio Health Department wants them to do could be quite costly.
“That is why I think a lot of fairs are canceling because they just can’t afford all this extra stuff and we don’t know if we can. We’re going to try and figure that out,” Meyer said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.