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Fair set for full return

Board voted Monday to go forward with both junior and senior events

ROME TOWNSHIP — Plans are in place for the Lawrence County Fair to make a full return in July.

The fair board met Monday night and voted to host a full fair this year, vice president Chris Collier said.

Last year’s county fair was canceled, due to restrictions on mass gatherings in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic issued by Gov. Mike DeWine and the Ohio Department of Health.

Collier said that it appears that restrictions are easing and, if the trend continues, then conditions should allow for both the Senior Fair, which comprises the grandstand and attractions, and the Junior Fair, which covers 4-H and FFA events.

Collier said the board decided to go forward with the announcement now, as many families plan their vacations around the event and that they wanted to give 4-H families ample time to begin work on their animal projects for the year. He said they are working with the Lawrence County 4-H extension office through The Ohio State University on preparations.

Fair board president Randy Lambert spoke about the decision in a post on Facebook.

“The Lawrence County Fair Board is currently making plans to have a full fair for 2021 (Complete with rides, food vendors, livestock shows, grandstand attractions, etc.,)” he said. “Gov. Mike DeWine recently announced that Ohio fairs would be permitted to operate at a 30 percent occupancy capacity. We will be following all state and CDC guidelines. (At this time, masks and social distancing will be required.) Although nothing is guaranteed during these unpredictable times, we are continuing to move forward with our plans for the 2021 fair season. We will provide you with additional information as it becomes available.”

Last year year’s fair was canceled as, with the loss of grandstand events and midway attractions, the board said it was not financially feasible to host the event.

The state made funds available to county fairs to offset the loss of funds, so that junior events could still take place, but, by the time the announcement was made, the decision had already been made to cancel Lawrence County’s fair, one of the earliest in the season for the state.

In place of the fair, an independent event, the Lawrence County Livestock show, was organized in July by Carrie Cheek and Rob Calaway, two parents with several years of involvement in the fair. Both 4-H and FFA were not officially involved in this event, but the participants were youth who had worked on projects for those groups.

This year’s Lawrence County Fair is set for Saturday, July 10 through Saturday, 17.

Collier said, should conditions with the pandemic lead to more restrictions, the board would re-evaluate, but he does not think that will be necessary by July.

“But we want to do make sure everyone is safe,” he said.