Many of the early county fairs across the state of Minnesota are being cancelled because of the pandemic. The first of the year is the Hennepin County Fair. It was slated for June 17-21. As of May 19th, Hennepin County has by far had the most cases of COVID-19 diagnosis with 5,650 and 476 deaths.
The Wadena County Fair is slated for the same weekend. It has a dramatically different situation with 6 total cases and no deaths. Still the Wadena County Fair Board met last night and did vote to cancel the 2020 Wadena County Fair because of Covid-19.
Norman County is slated for June 24-27. Norman County's numbers sit at 11 confirmed COVID-19 cases without a death. The Norman County Fairboard announced on the weekend of May 9th that the 125th Norman County Fair will have to wait until June of 2021. Fairboard President Don Merkens says they considered all their options, but in the end there was quite simply no other choice.
Closer to Alexandria, the Douglas County Fair Board currently continues to plan for a 2020 fair. President of the Douglas County Fair Board, Don Kleine says, "we are learning about the challenges arising from the pandemic that has been declared across the world and will continue gathering information from resources as to how this pandemic may/can affect an event like a fair. We are continuing to consult with people from various health departments, University of Minnesota extension office regarding 4-H participation, our carnival provider and the Minnesota State Fair." Kleine says their passion remains as strong as ever for the fair and its mission and purpose in our community and West Central Minnesota. He adds that the board also believes "that mission includes a responsibility to do our best to provide a safe and healthy environment for all who attend and work at the fair." The board anticipates that sometime within the next 30 days it will become clearer the conditions under which an event such as the Douglas County fair will be subject to if held. Kleine concluded, "We will then need to determine if we are able to successfully hold our fair under those determined conditions. We will continue to be hopeful at this time."
Grant County has announced that they will not be having a fair this year. Per their facebook page:
"We are sorry to announce that the 2020 Grant County Fair is cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Due to the continued restrictions on large group gatherings in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the board of directors of the Grant County Agricultural Association voted to cancel the 2020 Grant County Fair which was to be held July 16 – 19, 2020.
The decision to cancel was difficult and not made lightly as it impacts many people and organizations in our county, but we feel it is the best decision for all involved.
The decision was made based upon the restrictions for the monitoring and enforcing social distancing requirements, the health and safety of the community, fair vendors, carnival, staff, exhibitors, and volunteers, as well as to preserve the financial ability of the Grant Count Ag Association to present future fairs.
We will support the Grant County 4-H program in any activities that will allow participation for exhibitors to secure a trip to the Minnesota State Fair if held later this fall.
We would like to thank everyone for all the support given to the fair each year. Without you the fair would not happen. We are sad to say, “no fair this year”. But we will be back in 2021 and look forward to seeing all of you at the fair July 15 – 18, 2021!"
Other local fair dates are "scheduled" as follows:
- Stearns County - July 30- Aug 2
- Pope County - Aug 5-8
- Stevens County - Aug 12-16
- Todd County - Aug 13-16
- Douglas County - Aug 19-22
For a full list of fair dates and State Fair information, follow this link.