County fairs remain hopeful for summer festivities
The smell of funnel cakes wafting through the air; the sound of children laughing on their favorite rides; and the life lessons gained by youth raising livestock while their parents exhibit the animals.
For many, the impact county fairs have on their respective communities are far-reaching, making the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic all the more nerve-wracking for the organizers who plan them.
While every walk of life has been affected by the COVID-19 virus, local fair organizers are holding their breath in the hopes that their events are fortunate enough to go on as previously planned.
Members of the The Schuylkill County Farm and Fair Board met on Thursday via Zoom to continue planning for this year’s fair, scheduled to run July 27-Aug. 1 at the Schuylkill County Fairgrounds in Schuylkill Haven.
The fair posted the following message on its website, www.schuylkillfair.com:
“As well as so many other nonprofit boards and government agencies, your fair board has adapted to the new socially distant normal. We held our first ever virtual board meeting and we are proud to report we had 37 members and guests in attendance. In addition to being very productive, this was a first use of this technology for many of our members and everyone enjoyed it.”
The board said it has contingency plans.
“The fair is a year-round labor of love for our members, volunteers, vendors, exhibitors, youth competitors and sponsors. Together, we will get through this. Together, we will become stronger. Together, we are making memories, one fair at a time.”
Though it had to cancel its last board meeting, the Carbon County Fair anticipates holding its next meeting in mid-May, according to fair President Robert Silliman.
The fair is scheduled to be held Aug. 3-8 at the fairgrounds on Little Gap Road in Palmerton.
“We are moving forward with it,” Silliman said. “Hopefully people will be tired of being shut in and come out to the fair this year, celebrate our freedom.”
That’s the plan, at least for now, for the West End Fair, according to fair President Dale Greenzweig Jr.
While the board hasn’t met since March, and is uncertain whether it will meet in May, the 99th annual fair is scheduled to run Aug. 23-29 on Fairgrounds Road in Gilbert.
“We definitely did not cancel the fair at this time,” Greenzweig said. “I didn’t talk to the remainder of the board, but I’m sure that we’re not going to make a decision until we know from the CDC and the governor and what they’re going to allow us to do.”
Until then, Greenzweig said it’s his hope that the fair can go on as scheduled.
“We just hope everybody remains safe, and hopefully this epidemic is over soon that we can continue to have our 99th annual fair and everyone gets back to normal,” he said.