Harvey County Fair defining future

Chad Frey
The fair board and county health officials are discussing precautions for the county fair to put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The future of the Harvey County Fair, scheduled for July 30 through Aug. 3, is, at this time, undecided as officials wrestle with what precautions should be taken in the face of COVID-19.

County Commissioner Chip Westfall, emergency management director Gary Denny and health department director Lynette Redington recently met with the Harvey County Fair Board to discuss the Harvey County Fair.

No decisons were made at that time about the fair, but it is clear the fair will be changed from previous years.

“The fair will look different,” Westfall said. “It will be managed differently and handled differently. ... Be patient with (the fair board) as they deal with this and the pandemic.“

Westfall is a longtime volunteer judging 4-H model rocketry and measuring launch heights during annual rocket launches at an area farm. Like all 4-H programs at this time, rocketry has been delayed this year. Not a single meeting for the project group has been held, and the group launch date has not been set.

No 4-H in person activities are allowed until July 4, a decision announced April 8 by the county extension office after a state-level decision stopped all in person activities for Extension offices through that date.

“This is going to be a trying time for HVCO 4-H as we cannot meet to discuss things face to face or in project meetings to learn and grow our knowledge in project areas,” wrote Ashley Janzen in an email to 4-H member families. “However, we are in process of figuring out supplemental programming that engages you in alternative ways.”

That has led to 4-H camps moving online and the delay of previously scheduled events — and, by extension, uncertainty for the fair.

“Hopefully it will be back to normal next year,” Westfall said.

Westfall said the fair board is expected to make a decision at its next meeting on June 15.