OTTAWA — Although this year’s Putnam County Fair, which begins on Monday, will be a slimmed-down version, fairgoers will still be able to enjoy many fair staples.
Due to COVID-19, this year’s junior fair will not have rides, games or other live entertainment events. Admission will be free and there will be no specialty days or events.
“The decision was actually made with the ride company,” fair board president Nathan Meyer explained. “With all the unknowns and a lot of fair after us being canceled or not doing rides, they had to do it for money reasons. It costs a whole bunch for insurance, to get everything inspected and all of that.”
However, about a dozen food vendors have been secured, the tractor pulls and demo derby are slated to return and all livestock and 4-H shows are a go.
“That was our push all along, to let the kids come in and show their projects, whether it’s the livestock or their home projects like sewing, photography or woodworking,” Meyer said. “It’s always been about having some kind of fair so the kids can showcase what they’ve been working on.”
Under the Ohio Department of Health’s order for fairs, grandstand events are allowed but must remain at 50% capacity, so the truck and tractor pulls and demolition derby will return with $10 admission.
“We’ve already gone around and disinfected all the bleachers and everything to get ready for the fair,” Meyer said. “After the shows, we will continue to disinfect and on the bleachers, we’ve marked off every other row to help with social distancing and we’re going to have signs up reminding people to keep social distance — and we have sanitizer galore.”
Meyer said a few local businesses donated sanitizer, money and plenty of other things to help ensure this year’s fair. Hancock County’s fairgrounds even loaned three sets of bleachers to be used at the grandstand so it will be able to accommodate usual crowds with proper distancing.
The board will have donation buckets set up throughout the fairgrounds to help offset losing that admission cost.
“That’s really the only way to make money,” Meyer said. “The state is giving all fairs $50,000, but in my list of things like electric bills, our yearly audit, insurance, it’s up over $70,000. The $50,000 helps, but it’s not going to cover it.”
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.