Due to COVID-19, county fair participants and visitors may find themselves experiencing county fairs either in person with increased biosecurity and social distancing requirements, or virtually from their home, or possibly not at all.
“The word ‘canceled’ is a little tricky when it comes to fairs,” said Lisa Reiff, Michigan Association of Fairs and Exhibitions executive director. “Fair boards across the state really are facing some difficult decisions.”
Reiff added fairs “want to do what is best for their exhibitors, their communities and their fair.”
Many county fairs rely heavily on financial support through sponsorships and donations. During a time when many businesses find themselves struggling financially, the money it takes to put on a fair may just not be there.
When a face-to-face fair or event cancels, the economic impact on the community and surrounding area adds another level of stress to local businesses, already struggling with the economic fallout from COVID-19. According to MAFE, more than 4.4 million people attended fairs throughout the state in 2018, with more than 62,000 exhibitors.
County fairs who do hold a face-to-face event will most likely incur expenses to meet biosecurity and social distancing requirements and will need to assess the layout of the fair grounds and logistics of the fair schedule.
To stay up to date on the status of county fair activities, Reiff suggests checking the local fair’s website and social media posts or mifairs.com.