CORONAVIRUS

Johnson County Fair cancels grounds and grandstand entertainment for 2020

Organizers developing plans for 4-H, FFA competitions

Randy Lackender hauls metal from a pavilion at a past Johnson County Fair. The fair board announced Thursday it is cance
Randy Lackender hauls metal from a pavilion at a past Johnson County Fair. The fair board announced Thursday it is canceling this year’s fair but will find a way 4-H and FFA members can exhibit their projects. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — The Johnson County Fair will not have in-person entertainment this year.

The Johnson County Agricultural Association announced in a news release Thursday that it is canceling grounds and grandstand entertainment for the 2020 fair because of efforts to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.

Johnson County now joins Linn County in canceling the county fair this year.

“After consulting with Johnson County Public Health, Johnson County Emergency Management, the Johnson County Board of Supervisors and fair board members, it was determined this was the best decision due to the uncertainty of what the public health situation may look like at the end of July,” Charlie Isaacs, fair board president, said in a statement.

“We want nothing more than to have a fair. However, volunteers, visitors, youth of Johnson County and staff health and safety are our main concern.”

The Johnson County Agricultural Association said it will work with the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach of Johnson County to ensure 4-H and FFA youth are given the opportunity to exhibit.

County fairs across the state are facing similar questions about how to proceed with fairs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Some fairs have considered virtual exhibiting and are relying upon lessons learned by other fairs that have implemented that approach.

“In a time of unknown, we are working through uncharted territory, and staff and volunteers are working hard to offer an educational opportunity for our youth this summer,” Kate Yoder, county youth coordinator for the Iowa State University Extension and Outreach of Johnson County, said in a statement. “Youth are dedicated to their exhibits, and I am dedicated to ensuring our youth have an educational showcase opportunity this summer.”

Isaacs said they plan to go forward with the Johnson County Fair in 2021.

Comments: (319) 339-3155; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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