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Oldest continuous county fair to take place in September

Shortened version planned for 2020
Oldest continuous county fair to take place in September Oldest continuous county fair to take place in September
Jo Ann Spieth-Saylor, Editor, [email protected]

Like other groups that have had to make difficult decisions about their events during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Harrison County Agricultural Society needed to determine the fate of the 2020 Harrison County Fair.

At its board meeting last Wednesday night, it was decided there will be a fair this year. However, the 2020 version will be different.

Doug Henricksen, treasurer of the group that puts on the fair, said rather than being a week-long event, it will take place Friday, Sept. 25, through Sunday, Sept. 27 (alternate dates in case of inclement weather that weekend will be Oct. 23 through 25).

This will be the 161st year for what is touted as the longest consecutively-running county fair in Indiana. A desire not to break that record factored into the decision to proceed with an event this year.

“We have the utmost responsibility for the safety and welfare of our volunteers who help put on the fair and our attendees,” Henricksen said. “We’ll leave it up to the general public to practice precautionary measures.”

Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Indiana State Dept. of Health recommend social distancing of six feet and the wearing of masks to help prevent the spreading of the novel coronavirus.

With a shorter window for the fair, there will be less events. However, the tried-and-true ones are being planned.

Henricksen said those include a demolition derby, a truck/tractor pull, the parade, Little Miss and Master contest and queen contest (for this year only, the minimum age requirement was moved back down to 16; more information will be made available as the fair approaches).

“We also want to try to plan a Sunday morning pancake breakfast and worship service,” Henricksen said. “And, there will be some open livestock shows; we’re not sure which ones yet. We will also squeeze in some other acts.”

There is no commitment yet for amusement rides.

Henricksen said the county’s Extension 4-H group, which is having its own separate fair this year,  will be extended an invitation to participate in the 2020 county fair.

For grandstand events only for this year, there will be no reserved seating. Henricksen said persons who purchase boxed seats will not lose their spots for the following year.

“We’ll send out statements and those seats will carry over for 2021,” he said.

Annual membership dues for the Harrison County Agricultural Society remain at $25.

Henricksen said more details about the fair will be posted on the ag society’s Facebook as they become available.