The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t stopped preparation for the Wyoming County Community Fair.
Overall, the team behind the annual event has been taking a “wait and see what happens” approach while continuing with their normal planning.
Spokesperson Pam Burke said Houghton Enterprises remains available to supply attractions.
“That’s what made us decide to continue to look forward to the future and hope everything is back to normal by September,” Burke said.
At this point, she said only one vendor has reported experiencing issues due to disruptions in the supply chain.
Since the pandemic began, the team has been communicating regularly about state and federal directives and staying in touch with representatives of other fairs. It never really crossed their minds to just cancel outright without seeing what the future holds, she said.
With the fair scheduled for Sept. 2-7 this year, Burke said those involved hope there’s enough time beforehand for normalcy to be restored.
A statement from Gov. Tom Wolf indicated that fairs would need to shut down grandstands because they don’t allow for social distancing, she said, noting that it’s possible to rope off the grandstand area at the fairgrounds and have people bring their own chairs.
This year’s musical acts haven’t been canceled so far, and Burke said there’s room for people to social distance during the concerts as well.
Printed copies of the 2020 Premium Book won’t be available this year, but Burke said it’s all posted on the county fair’s website.
At this point, 4-H activities have been canceled through at least June 30, and Penn State Extension plans to continue monitoring the situation to make further decisions. Burke said if 4-H activities cannot resume by September, the WCCF Board still wants to give youths an opportunity to showcase their projects, just unfortunately independent from 4-H.
“We’re literally taking it on a day to day, week to week basis,” Burke said. “Our hopes are to still be able to accommodate something for the kids to show their animals and provide a venue that will still meet all the guidelines required by the state.”
If the state doesn’t lift restrictions by September, she said the fair will likely be the least of anyone’s worries.
Burke said “it’s confusing where his priorities lie” when Gov. Wolf finds protest gatherings acceptable during the pandemic, but won’t allow small businesses and nonprofits to proceed as normal.
The WCCF depends on reimbursements from the Pennsylvania Fair Fund. If this funding isn’t used to reimburse fairs, Burke said it returns to the General Assembly, and “that’s going to be a sad day because some fairs already had to cancel.”
She called the WCCF “a labor of love,” as it doesn’t make a huge profit. It also provides other nonprofit organizations with an opportunity to raise money.
She hopes the fair could continue as “a place for the community to come together safely and support our kids, our agriculture and the nonprofits that come and set up there” this year.