EATON — With 170 years now under the belt of the Preble County Fair, it is safe to say that this year’s edition may end up being the strangest.
Limited to just junior fair events and harness racing, events have been canceled throughout the fairgrounds including various contests and dances, grandstand competitions and even the rides which would have been scattered throughout the midway.
With just junior fair competitions remaining and various steps taken to increase safety at the fair such as signs about masks and social distancing, the changes have been numerous in 2020.
Nicole Addis, whose daughter participates in 4-H, said the changes are fine considering what is going on.
“I think they’re fine and for the most part, everybody’s following what they’re supposed to be doing,” she said.
Signs are posted at every entryway encouraging attendees to use hand sanitizer, to social distance and to wear a mask. Every junior fair show has the announcer remind attendees to practice social distancing, and when that is not possible, to wear a mask.
“Yeah, I do,” she said when asked if she agreed with the changes. “I mean, it was hard at first to get used to it but it’s not too bad. I think it’s for everybody’s protection, really.”
For her daughter who participates in 4-H, Addis said the junior fair side of things has not changed much other than a shifted schedule for some events.
“The 4-H part didn’t really change too awful much,” she said. “I mean, it did some, but [my daughter] really missed the rides and the games and stuff and more vendors, obviously.”
Addis’ daughter, Allison, said that fair was “weird” this year.
When asked about what she missed from fairs past, she responded immediately and said, “the rides.”
Scott Brill, whose wife works as a 4-H advisor, said it has been a tough year.
“You know, there’s things that definitely are hard for people to adjust to, but on the other hand, we may just need to buckle down and go along with it,” he said.
He said he and his wife leased out horses this year to exhibitors, but like with Nicole and Allison Addis, the 4-H projects have thankfully not been impacted.
“Everything’s pretty much running as normal,” he said. “There are less crowds there to view the shows, but other than that, things are about as business as usual.”
Above all else, he said he was glad the kids would still get a chance to show off their projects this year.
“Definitely the crowd’s less and mostly it’s just the 4-H crowds here,” Scott Brill said. “You know, you lose some of the atmosphere with all the grandstand stuff missing and the rides and more of the vendors and stuff, but at least we were able to keep on going with with the 4-H projects.”
Even with the changes, 4-H events are still scheduled through Saturday, Aug. 8.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @BradenMoles