WAPAKONETA — The Auglaize County Fair kicks off Sunday, and the fair board wanted to offer as normal of a fair experience within their power for those seeking it.
Under Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s order, the fair has been limited to a junior fair only, but unlike Allen County, the public is welcome.
“We’re going to give them the choice,” fair manager Ed Doenges said of the decision. “We’ve still stayed with the $8 admission, which will curtail anybody who wants to come in and just take a walk through. We also had a lot of season passes pre-sold, and we didn’t know how else to handle that so we wanted to keep the gated admission to be fair to them.
“Those that want to be here will pay the $8 and help pay for the junior fair show because we’ve lost all other income,” he added. “At some point, things have to get paid for and the community has been really accepting of that.”
Season passes will also be available still for $30.
Doenges and the board didn’t have much time to make those tough decisions as the order came from DeWine on Wednesday.
“It’s been a frustrating few days, but we’re getting through it,” Doenges said. “You have to get through the initial shock of this is really what we have to do, but we had a meeting and figured out what we needed to do and that’s going well. It’s definitely a downsize, but that’s still created a lot of extra work to get things in place.”
In addition to the junior fair shows and exhibits, the fair will include about 15 food vendors and open campgrounds for visitors. The order prohibits all games, rides and grandstand events. Harness racing will begin at 1 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday without spectators or betting.
Masks will be required and sanitization and signage have been dispersed around the fairgrounds that fairgoers are expected to follow.
“If you’re going to come out, please wear a mask and help us out,” Doenges said. “This is what we’ve got to do and if everybody comes out and helps us, it will be fine and we will get through it OK. The main object is to get these junior fair kids through the shows and give them that opportunity to show. It can still be a good experience for the kids, and it will definitely be one they’ll remember.”
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.