Ins and outs of this year’s fair

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(Posted July 5, 2020)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

Madison County Fair week is just around the corner–July 11-18. Will it be vastly different from years past? Yes, but the bottom line is that 4-H and FFA youth still get their chance to shine.

In late May, the Madison County Agricultural Society (senior fair board) made the decision to go with only a Junior Fair this year, eliminating rides, carnival games, vendors, open class shows, and entertainment. The focus is on youth exhibitors and their projects.

The decision was made based on state guidelines at the time regarding fairs and mitigating the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Those guidelines have since changed and, as a result, the fair board is welcoming four or five food trucks on site for the week and has scheduled one night of entertainment.

“The focus has been on having the Junior Fair show and then whatever else we can do. We’re trying to be flexible as things change,” said Darrell Champer, senior fair board president.

So, what does this mean for the public? Anyone is welcome to attend the fair. Daily admission is free. The food trucks will be open at lunch time. Livestock shows will run until 8 or 9 p.m. each night. The grounds will close at about 10:30 each night.

Spectator attendance at shows will be kept to no more than 50 percent capacity of the facilities in which the shows are taking place. Priority will be given to relatives of the youths participating in the shows and livestock buyers. Adult volunteers and deputies from the Madison County Sheriff’s Office will be on hand to enforce social distancing. Following local and state guidelines, fair organizers highly recommend that visitors wear facial coverings.

The Junior Fair livestock auction that normally takes place the last day of the fair is taking place online. Rather than go without something for the public to enjoy in person that day, the fair board booked KOI drag racing, a perennial favorite. Races will start in late afternoon and continue through the evening.

Anyone is welcome to enter the races. Participants must bring their own vehicles. Anything goes with classes for all-terrain vehicles, trucks, and other full-size vehicles. All ages can compete. Separate classes are held for youths. More information is available at KOIdragracing.com.

The spectator admission fee for the drag races is $10 per person. Because the grandstands remain closed, spectators will park their cars on the horse track. Areas will be marked off for seating. Spectators will be required to stay local to their cars. The races will take place on the truck pull strip.

Champer noted that all plans for fair week are subject to change based on local and state COVID-19 guidelines. Updates will be posted to the fair board’s website, www.madisoncountyfairoh.com, and social media pages. Look there, too, for details about traffic patterns in and out of the fairgrounds, camping, and more.

The Madison County Fairgrounds are located at 205 Elm St., London. The fair office phone number is (740) 852-1654.

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