Fair Board Votes Unanimously Not To Hold 2020 Fair

The 34th annual Meramec Community Fair will have to wait until June 2021 following a difficult decision made by the MCF Board Friday evening. The board voted unanimously 17-0 to not hold the fair due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“This has been the most difficult decision the fair board has ever had to make regarding the fair and we’ve faced a lot of adversity through the years. But this has been the hardest issue we’ve faced,” said Fair Board President, James Bartle. “There are so many factors we had to review and a pressing need for direction from the federal government, state of Missouri, county and city agencies. All have been discussing the issues with the fair but wanted to leave the final decision to the fair board at the present time.”

Bartle stated that current state of Missouri and CDC guidelines made it difficult to predict whether the fair could move forward in June or not.

“We have had weekly, sometimes daily, discussions with officials and observed what other fairs both locally and in the midwest were taking,” said Bartle. “The Franklin County Youth Fair, held in early June and New Haven Youth Fair, held in early July, both have canceled. We were notified that several fairs in Iowa, including one the same weekend as our fair, also have determined that they cannot have their fairs.”

Factors for the fair to consider included social distancing requirements; how to keep areas sanitized from restrooms to rides to venues that held rodeo, demolition derby, truck and tractor pulls, beer gardens and concert areas; could adequate food supplies/meat be obtained for food vendors; could volunteers be coordinated in time and would they still be willing to volunteer at the fair during this time; would attendance be down or up for the event; would business sponsors still be able to sponsor the fair which helps offset expenses for the fair; should an outbreak of COVID-19 be traced back to the fair would the fair be liable for a class action lawsuit; how do we deal with current contracts the fair is already committed to and would these contracts be relieved due to COVID-19 pandemic; what to do with tickets that were already sold and what to do with the 4-H livestock program.

“As for the 4-H livestock program, the 4-H does plan to move forward with the program in some shape or form and those involved from the processors to the 4-H groups need to be in contact with Chairperson Sue Koch for further announcements. Announcements will also be provided in the Sullivan Independent News, KTUI and fair Facebook page,” said Bartle. “As for tickets that have already been sold, we ask that customers hold on to their tickets for next year’s fair as we are working to have the same events. Negotiations are ongoing to bring the same acts back to the fair in 2021. If a guest/customer decides they need a refund, although tickets state no refunds, they can be obtained by emailing the fair at merameccommunityfair@gmail.com. We truly hope that people will support the fair and hold on to their tickets for next year as it ensures their ticket price will remain the same in 2021 and it helps the fair continue with some expenses it has already dispersed for the fair that won’t occur in 2020.”

Bartle concluded by stating, “We appreciate the tremendous support and patients of our fair goers, vendors, concert acts, rodeo, carnival, truck and tractor pull and demo derby groups along with the support of the local, county and state officials as we worked through this pandemic.”

Sullivan Independent News

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