GREENVILLE — Despite many months of planning, and attempts to sidestep numerous obstacles along the way, all events except the Jr. Fair at this year’s Great Darke County Fair have been canceled.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine spoke Tuesday, saying that regular, safe fairs cannot happen amid the COVID-19 situation.
“Our goal this summer was, despite of the COVID-19, was to try to hold these fairs,” he said. “It’s become increasingly clear that we cannot have a regular, safe fair in .”
DeWine’s order, which goes into effect for fairs starting July 31 or later, eliminates rides, games and grandstand events.
In response to the governor’s statements, the Darke County Fair Facebook page posted: “Today the governor at his 2 o’clock press conference has mandated that all fairs in Ohio starting July 31 and after open and operate a Jr. Fair only. We thank everyone that has supported us in our efforts to have a modified fair. We will do our best to give the Jr. Fair exhibitors the best fair we can give them under these circumstances. Thank you all again.”
Many commenting on the fair’s Facebook announcement expressed frustration and disappointment at the governor’s order.
“What a complete utter disappointment,” said one comment. “Our Governor has absolutely no clue what is actually happening in Darke County!”
Another person wrote, “Please, let’s remember the 4-H and FFA kids and anyone else that participates in the Jr. Fair. We can be there for them.”
“You did a phenomenal job getting ready,” said another. “I’m so sorry that other fairs did not and caused us all to miss out. We can’t wait to see you again next year!”
The Darke County Fair is the county’s premier event, typically hosting 100,000 or more people during its 10-day run. The cancellation will have negative economic repercussions, not only for the Darke County Fair, but for the many vendors and businesses in the area which count on increased traffic during the fair.
The fair joins a list of many summertime county events which have been canceled, including Annie Oakley Days and the Gathering at Garst.