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Organizers work to create alternative to canceled fair

DeWine addresses issue at news conference

ROME TOWNSHIP — The Lawrence County Fair is canceled for 2020 and supporters of 4-H members are working to put together an alternate event.

On Thursday, a meeting took place at the fairgrounds for an event billed as the Lawrence County-OH Livestock Show, which would be an independent show.

Organizers said their goal is to host the event on the week when the fair would typically take place, with animals being brought in on Monday, July 6 and shows taking place from July 7-9.

They said a Facebook page and fundraising effort had been set up to pay for rental of the fairgrounds, insurance, water and electric, supplies like mulch, as well as awards for presenters.

They said they hope to have plans in place within a week.

Lawrence County Fair Board president Randy Lambert, who attended the meeting, said voting to cancel the fair this year “was the hardest decision” he’s had to make.

He said the fair board was not opposed to the idea of the event, but, they can not be involved in the independent show, due to Ohio Department of Agriculture regulations.

“But we would like to it succeed,” he said.

He said the fair board is also contacting buyers, who would typically buy livestock at auction, and asking them to donate to the sales committee, with funds going to 4-Hers who had projects.

Also on Thursday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine spoke about county fairs at his daily news conference on the coronavirus.

“Decisions about county and independent fairs should be made locally, because each county and independent fair is unique and has different challenges,” the governor said. “Conditions may change over the summer, but we are asking all fair boards to comply with all of the Ohio Department of Health orders in place and the guidelines for other sectors that would also apply to fairs, like for food service and rides.”

DeWine said the Ohio Department of Agriculture is in the process of distributing all state funding available for 94 county and independent fairs.