Harvey County Fair plans to move forward

Chad Frey
While 4-H and open class exhibit rules are being worked out, the county fair is on for July 30 through Aug. 4.

Following a meeting of the Harvey County Fair Association, the fair is on — with to-be-decided schedule changes and precautions to slow the spread of pandemic COVID-19.

“After much consideration, the Harvey County Fair Association has decided to move forward with plans for this year’s fair. We will continue to monitor the current health situation and make adjustments as needed,” said Gail Lanier, secretary of the association. “Things may look a bit different this year but we plan to continue the tradition of providing a quality, community event.”

The current schedule shows setup for the fair on July 28, with the fair opening in earnest July 30.

Beyond that, everything is subject to change.

“We cannot post our schedule yet because we do not know what it will look like,” Lanier said. “... Some of our decisions may change. ... It is hard to come up with a plan on short notice.”

Project display categories and competitions for 4-H will be decided in the weeks to come — all in-person meetings were suspended through July 4 and entries for the fair were placed on hold pending decisions on the future of the fair.

“4-Hers need to watch at the (Harvey County Kansas State Research and) Extension website,” Lanier said.

It is unclear what might happen with open class exhibits.

“That is in negotiations with the Extension (office). We are trying to develop our plan as it goes,” Lanier said.

At this point, the fair plans to have the traditional carnival open. The contractor providing those services is working on COVID-19 safety measures and requirements. The annual Demolition Derby and the traditional parade downtown to kick off the fair are also planned.

However, the ATV rodeo — a recent addition to the fair — is canceled. The future of the traditional rodeo is unknown at this time, a decision to be made by the Newton Saddle Club.

The Market in the Park, also a recent addition to the fair, is currently in limbo after the organizer of that event left the fair board after last year and COVID-19 put a hold on planning for the event.