Fair board announces plans for 2020 fair

| August 21, 2020

This October, the fairgrounds will be bare, as there will be no grandstand entertainment, no buildings will be open and there will be no rides. The fair will be a four day showcase for youth to show their animals. (File)

“I kept hoping and praying we could have our fair, but July 31, the rug got pulled out from under me,” said Jason Massie, Coshocton County Fair Board President.  That was the day Governor Mike DeWine announced that no full county fairs would be allowed.

This October, the fairgrounds will be bare, as there will be no grandstand entertainment, no buildings will be open and there will be no rides. The fair will be a four day showcase for youth to show their animals. “We all feel the kids deserve to have their showcase. They’ve worked so hard. We are going to give them the best we can. We are still working out details of the shows, including how many spectators will be allowed in the building during the show. Absolutely no one from the general public will be allowed in the barns.”

“I have been meeting with them (the health department) since June to figure out the best plan for the kids and our fair. It’s just so disappointing to all of us. The health department knows, just like we do, that the fair is a huge financial boost for the community, and they are doing everything they can to help us.”

The plans right now include the animals being brought in the morning of their show and taken out of the fairgrounds as soon as the show is over. Every animal will have its own day, such as all hogs will be shown on the same day. This is subject to change, as are all of the plans that have been made. Each exhibitor will receive wrist bands for people to come and watch the show, but the number of wrist bands per show has yet to be determined. “We have to social distance in Hunter Arena,” Massie said.

The showcase will be held Saturday, Oct. 3 through Tuesday, Oct. 6. There will be a few concession stands on the grounds for the people attending the shows.  “I feel for all of the fair vendors,” Massie said. “They work June through October and this year; they just haven’t been able to. We wanted to help as many as we could.”

“Since this started in March the only thing on my mind has been making sure these kids had an option to show their animals,” said Ron Seitz, director of the junior fair. “I made a promise to myself and others that one way or another these kids would get to show whether it was the fair board doing something or individuals doing something.”

One of the many reasons this was important to Seitz was because of the lessons learned.

“The values and responsibilities these kids learn by raising a project or finishing a skill project are tools that they will have in their toolbox for the rest of their lives,” Seitz said. “To me it’s not about whether you win or lose its about finishing the project.”

There, however, will be no live auction for the animals this year. Instead, a live online/phone auction will take place on Thursday, Oct. 8. After the last show is completed on Oct. 6, pre-bidding will open and will be available until 5:30 p.m. on Oct. 8. The live auction will start with the sale of champions. When the last animal has sold, the online bidding will end. At this time, anyone who wants can register and “tack on” money to any exhibitor they wish. “Say Grandma has five grandkids in the auction,” Massie said. “She can call in and say she wants $100 to be tacked on to each kids’ total sale amount. Lots of people do this and you don’t have to be a bidder in the auction to do this.”

“No animals will be there that night,” Massie said. “Every exhibitor is responsible for taking care of their animals. If someone who wins an auction wants the animal, we need them to call any member of the fair board and we will help them get in touch with the youth and make arrangements to get their purchased animal.”

“I just want to thank everyone for their support,” Massie said. “This has definitely been a rough time for all of us. We just want to do what we can to give the kids their time to show off their animals.”

He is urging everyone to check the fairgrounds website (coshoctoncountyfair.org) and their Facebook page for updates. Seitz added that schedules also can be found on the 4-H Facebook page.

“Everything we have planned could change,” Massie said.

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