MHC Fair cancelled for 2020
Tue, 05/12/2020 - 1:04pm admin
—Coronavirus forces postponement until June 22-27, 2021
Marcie Klomp ~ News Editor email@example.com
CRESCO - The Mighty Howard County Fair has been cancelled for this year (June 23-28, 2020) due to the coronavirus pandemic. Executive Secretary of the Fair Board Tom Barnes said all events and entertainment are postponed until June 22-27, 2021.
In a press release, he stated, “To say we’re disappointed is an understatement. But the health and safety of our community is our top priority. Taking into consideration all of the factors the Board had to look at in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the right decision.”
Since the first part of April, Barnes has been meeting through Zoom and webinars three times a week with fairs across the state and country. “We were seeing what other people are doing. It’s going to be a quiet summer,” Barnes added.
He also met with the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC); the governor’s office; Association of Iowa Fairs (AIF), of which he is executive director and his wife, Sue, is executive secretary/treasurer; the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE); the State of Iowa; and Howard County Public Health and Emergency Services. “The supervisors also expressed concern about having the fair.”
Barnes explained, “The Fair should be a time for celebrating the accomplishments of our area 4-H and FFA exhibitors, highlighting the ethnic and cultural diversity of our Howard County community and a time when fairgoers can get together in a family atmosphere to enjoy all of the sites, tastes and sounds of a great county fair. The last thing the Board wants to do is to create an atmosphere of concern and anxiety.”
Besides the worry of physical safety of patrons, volunteers and community members, Barnes took into consideration the financial safety of the fair.
He noted with all the extra cleaning, social distancing and other rules public health is recommending, “With 50% or less attendance, there is no way we can do it.”
One thing that isn’t going to adversely affect the fair’s bottom line is entertainment and other leasing commitments. Most of the fair board’s contracts have a force majeure clause, which essentially frees both parties from liability or obligation when an extraordinary event or circumstance beyond the control of the parties take place, such as a pandemic.
The contract must be cancelled within 5-6 weeks to get out of it. Even though the fair won’t have to pay large fees, it still will not make money, which is used for expenses around the fairgrounds.
Other financial concerns
“The Board does understand this decision could have a negative economic impact on our Fair vendors and local businesses who depend on the Fair for their livelihood,” Barnes noted. “However, the safety of our community is our first and foremost concern.”
If you normally donate toward the fair, you can still do so, or you can donate to some of the organizations that use the fair as one of its major fund-raisers. Some of those include Cresco Community Fire Department; churches — Cresco United Methodist, Notre Dame and Holy Trinity; American Legion (Bingo); Chamber Business Committee’s dunk tank with partial proceeds going to HoCA; beef and pork associations, local business vendors; Howard County Historial Society and Cresco Wildlife Club donations; and Moo Mobile groups (Notre Dame groups, Chamber Business Committee, Nurses, Kiwanis and Crestwood Band).
Although not a local business, Barnes has talked with a carnival that was in Texas when the world was hit with the no traveling recommendations. “The carnival was in Texas for five weeks. They finally made it to their home base in Missouri.”
Also affected are 4-H and FFA projects that could have qualified for State Fair.
“We’ve had storms, heat, drought, rain, wind and tornados during the fair. Who would have thought we’d be dealing with this?” Barnes asked.
He went on to express his concern for the local businesses. “I feel for them. They have been very supportive of us in the past. We can’t go out there right now and ask for sponsorships. I hope they can all get through this. They are our community.”
Barnes stated this situation is not isolated to Howard County. “We probably won’t see a June fair this year. Already one has cancelled in July. But we’ll come back strong next year.”