EATON — Junior Fair royalty, members of a local Boy Scout troop and the Preble County Honor Guard took part in a flag ceremony at the Preble County Fairgrounds Saturday morning, Aug. 1, to mark the commencement of festivities for the 2020 Preble County Fair.
Honor Guard members Jerry Hoover, John Redick, Charles Gardner, Larry Eley, and Commander Ron Garnett were present for the ceremony, as were Boy Scouts Keith Koch, Douglas Combs, Nathan King and R.J. Grill. The Scouts helped lower and replace the existing flag located at the front gate to the fairgrounds, while Honor Guard members performed a gun salute.
Senior Fair Board president Clinnie Stevenson spoke briefly following the ceremony. Stevenson thanked Junior Fair exhibitors, family members and volunteers.
“We really appreciate having everybody come out for the fair,” Stevenson said. “We’re thankful that we’re even allowed to have a Junior Fair this year.”
Stevenson stressed the importance of the opening flag ceremony.
“It’s a chance to have our veterans here with us, as well as the Junior Fair court, the Boy Scouts, and the parents of some of these fine kids who came out here today for a fair that they almost didn’t get to have,” Stevenson said.
“It’s amazing the support that the kids and parents have given us,” Stevenson continued. “I’ve had several kids and parents, just in the last few days, come up and thank me.”
Governor Mike DeWine made an announcement heavily limiting activities at county fairs commencing after July 31 during a press conference held last week, citing lack of social distancing and failure to enforce mask mandates being observed at fairs already under way.
Games, rides, and other Senior Fair festivities were prohibited under the new guidelines announced by DeWine, essentially limiting fairs to food concessions and Junior Fair events.
“And we only have about half the concessions that we normally have,” Stevenson said, explaining that concessionaires were given the choice of whether or not to participate in this year’s fair.
“With the limited amount of people we have this year, a whole venue’s worth of vendors wouldn’t be making much money,” Stevenson said.
The Fair Board announced last week only family members of Junior Fair exhibitors would be allowed on the grounds during specific events, with supporters of one event being asked to vacate the fairgrounds afterward so that spectators for other events could come in.
The result will be a significant reduction in revenue for this year’s fair, according to Stevenson.
“Financially, it’s going to be a struggle, because we’ve lost a lot here,” Stevenson said. “We’re going to have to really watch our spending. We just have to make it through and hope we have a normal fair next year.”
The most important part of the fair is still intact this year, according to Stevenson.
“We’re doing this for the kids, for the opportunity for them to have fun and show off their projects,” Stevenson said. “That’s what’s important.”
Reach Anthony Baker at 937-683-4057 or on Facebook or Instagram @mproperenglish