What will Wood County Fair look like? Organizers continue planning

Figuring out how to have a fair during a coronavirus pandemic is going to take time and guidance.
The Wood County Senior Fair Board held a casual roundtable, via Zoom, on Thursday to discuss ideas and
obstacles.
“I’m hoping we don’t have to make the decision — the state will make this decision, the governor will
make this decision. That’s what I’m hoping,” said board member Angie Swartz.
“We just need to keep being optimistic,” said board member Jesse Lambdin. “I really think it’s on his
radar (Gov. Mike DeWine) to have them.”
Whether the Aug. 3-10 event will have rides, lines for milkshakes, harness racing, a parade or a senior
day is unknown.
“There is some wait and see to all of this,” said Mike Trout, board president. “This is just a ‘what-if’
meeting.”
Board members were definitely in favor of having a fair, even if it was virtual or just a junior fair.

“If we’re going to cancel everything, we’re going to fail no matter what,” said board member John Nissen.

“We just need to press forward … and come up with a plan B,” said board member Jim Grames.
Board member Deanne Corken said she was having a difficult time believing a “regular” fair could be held.

“I love the fair and I want to be positive,” Corken said. “It’s hard to social distance at the fair.”
She said the board had to consider people standing in line for restrooms or milkshakes. She wondered if
they could put on a fair without any volunteers over age 60. COVID-19 is most lethal to the older
population.
Corken also said that she coaches high school cheerleading and they haven’t even had tryouts. The
cheerleading competition annually fills the grandstand.
Trout asked board member Garret Chamberlain if he thought the harness racing would happen.
“It’s a possibility. From what I understand, they haven’t had any races this year,” he said. “If they’re
allowed to, they will show up.”
Chamberlain also said that they would need to purchase gloves and masks.
“That’s something we’ve got to think about there, and the costs,” he said.
Board members also wondered how people could wait in line for rides — or ride them together — with 6-feet
social distancing guidelines.
Several events, such as the livestock sale, could be live-streamed.
“That’s going to take care of a lot of grandparents,” Nissen said of their attendance, if they could
watch on a screen.
Board member Kyle Culp said it could be a few thousand dollars to get a set-up or it could be aired on
Facebook Live with a nice phone.
“I think we could pull that off pretty easily,” Culp said.
Board member Brock Abke said there are only three queen nominations and one king. The deadline is May 8.

“If we don’t have a good turnout, I’m going to have to call a committee meeting,” he said.
The board is considering eliminating bands and floats for the parade, and having all the groups walk the
grandstand.
“A nice, easy parade, short and simple,” Abke said.
Grames also said that the board would have to have a very good sanitation plan in place.
The board also discussed elections, which could be held later in the year, and whether it could afford to
refund camping reservations.
“If a family really needs their money back … then I think we should refund it, but not hold their spot
for next year,” Trout said.
He said he is also worried about holding the camp money, using it, then being short in 2021.
“I don’t want to make our future financial problems worse by not dealing with it now,” Trout said.
Grames said refunds may be necessary.
“Financially, people are starting to hurt,” he said. “It’s not their fault.”
It may have to be done on a case-by-case basis for 532 people.
The board will be closely watching the 2020 Ohio fair schedule. The first is Paulding County, set for
June 7-13.
The board next meets officially in three weeks, but will continue to hold weekly roundtable meetings.