EATON — The Preble County Agricultural Society (Fair) Board approved a motion during its regular meeting on Thursday, July 16, to make admission free for all veterans and seniors at the 2020 Preble County Fair.
The board had previously announced last week Senior Day, Veteran’s Day, the Senior Dance, Baby Contest and Junior Fair Dance had been canceled due to new health department guidelines.
According to board members, the decision to cancel those events, including Senior Day and Veteran’s Day, was done to help limit large gatherings of seniors or veterans in accordance with health department guidelines.
“I don’t think we need to stop them from coming in if they want to,” Board President Clinnie Stevenson said. “I mean, this was basically to show the compliance as far as putting on events for the seniors.”
Instead of hosting events on specific days for seniors and veterans, this allows the board to spread the events throughout the week so they are not promoting large gatherings of senior guests on one specific day.
Stevenson had previously told The Register-Herald the Preble County Health Department informed them that the grandstands would be limited to 2,500 attendees per event.
Now, there have been further updates and additional confusion as to how many people may be allowed to attend events in the infield.
Based on new guidelines from the Preble County Health Department, Stevenson believes they can have up to 600 people in the infield (including participants, fire department, police, etc.) and half capacity in the grandstand, which would be around 1,550 tickets in the grandstands.
However, some members of the board read the updated guidelines as saying that only 600 spectators total would be allowed in the infield and in the grandstands.
Following that confusion, the board agreed they should try to quickly meet with the Preble County Health Department to clear up any confusion around the number of spectators allowed.
“I think we need to keep it all open right now until they say we can’t,” Stevenson said. “I didn’t like canceling any of it really. I told them right upfront — I said ‘we’re not canceling anything unless we absolutely have to.’ It’s a whole lot easier to cancel than it is to put it on.”
If the Preble County Health Department confirms fewer spectators would be allowed than expected, the board agreed further conversations would need to take place regarding holding infield events, as the individual derbies on each Saturday of the Preble County Fair and their large turnouts help to fund the remaining infield events.
“The derby is the only thing we make any real money on anyway,” Stevenson said. “Those are the only two events we make money on.”
After a lengthy discussion, the board passed a motion stating livestock shows would continue as normal with two rings and each exhibitor taking their animals through, sorted by species. Extra steps will be taken to increase sanitation.
Additionally, the Sale of Champions and Showman of Showmen will continue as planned.
The board briefly discussed how to operate open shows, potentially limiting these shows only to exhibitors from Preble County, but determined they would wait until meeting with the health department before making a decision.
It was also confirmed during the meeting the parade is canceled.
After meeting with the Preble County Health Department, the board will be meeting on Wednesday, July 22, at 7 p.m in Bruner Arena at the Preble County Fairgrounds to make any final decisions before the 2020 Preble County Fair.
Updates can be found on the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/preblecountyfairgrounds.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @BradenMoles