WAPAKONETA — The Auglaize County Fair Board has decided to move forward with a full fair, slated for Aug. 2 through 8.
The board has been in close communication the past several weeks and after further direction from the Ohio Department of Health, it announced this year’s fair will go on to its fullest capacity, including rides, vendors, entertainment, games, camping and livestock.
“The week before on Monday, we had voted at a meeting to do a Junior Fair with the intention to give it another week to see if the governor’s office made any changes, in which they did the following week,” said fair manager Ed Doenges. “We’ve put lots of discussion into how to do it safely and economically since we put so much money into it. We think we can move forward safely and still put on a good fair.”
Under the Department of Health’s latest directions, county fairs are able to reopen statewide as long as all safety standards are met. Those standards include required social distancing and sanitizing stations along with the recommendation to provide one-way traffic in buildings and midways.
One of the largest impacts is the restriction on grandstand events. Per the order, the number of spectators will be limited to “one-half the seated capacity of the grandstand,” not exceeding more than 2,500. This is where Doenges said they have to get creative by looking at ways to extend capacity not only in the grandstand but also in the gospel tent and 4-H project buildings.
“We’ve made the decision to move forward, but there are still a lot of decisions to make on how we’re able to do that,” he said. “Everything is going to look a little different — it’s not going to be the fair everyone is used to seeing. Our goal is to please as many people as we can and make them feel comfortable enough to come out.”
Reach Tara Jones at 567-242-0511.