Masks won’t be required for Fair exhibitors

By Kyle Shaner -

SIDNEY – Junior Fair exhibitors will not be required to wear masks while showing animals at the Shelby County Fair as show arenas will be set up to maintain social distancing, Fair Board President Eric Garber said.

The Shelby County Agricultural Society has worked with the Sidney-Shelby County Health Department to interpret Gov. Mike DeWine’s latest health orders, which include a statewide mask mandate, and to ensure they protect the safety of everyone involved in the fair, Garber said.

“We’re looking out for the safety of our children and the community,” he said.

DeWine issued a statewide mask mandate that went into effect Thursday for anyone who is in public. That includes anyone who is in an indoor public space or anyone who is outdoors and unable to maintain a 6-foot distance from others. There are some exceptions for children younger than 10, people with medical conditions and in situations in which wearing a mask would be unfeasible.

DeWine spoke by phone with the state’s fair directors Wednesday morning and emphasized that they must follow the guidelines.

“We want these fairs to continue, but they have to follow the rules,” the governor said during his Wednesday afternoon press conference. “We want the rules carried out, the rules that allow people to be as safe as they can.”

At least 22 cases of COVID-19 have been traced to the Pickaway County Fair. DeWine said other fairs will have to follow guidelines to prevent them from spreading the disease.

“Everybody on the fairgrounds is going to have to have a mask on, you know, unless they’re walking through that fairgrounds at 7 in the morning and there’s nobody there, or not too many people there,” he said.

“I know local health departments do not want to be in a position to close fairs, either in the middle of the fair or before the fair.”

At the Shelby County Fair, all attendees must maintain a safe social distance – a minimum of 6 feet – from anyone who is not a member of their household. In cases where social distancing is not possible, wearing a face covering is expected.

There will be no admission to the general public. Only people with daily wristbands will be admitted into the fairgrounds. Exhibitors have received a limited number of wristbands for free admittance for them and their guests.

There is a daily curfew of 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. at the fairgrounds. Exhibitors are required to clean all bedding and pens prior to leaving the grounds at the end of the day.

The 2020 Shelby County Fair will be limited to Junior Fair activities, and harness racing, which will not have spectators. The Fair will run from July 26 through July 30.

By Kyle Shaner

Reach the writer at or 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at or 937-538-4824.