(LaPorte, IN) - The LaPorte County Fair is waiting until 2021 to celebrate its 175th year due to concerns about COVID-19.
The fair scheduled July 12-18 is cancelled, officials with Indiana’s oldest county fair announced Friday afternoon.
Fair manager Don Stoner said the decision was extremely difficult but one that had to be made given the risk involved and safety precautions that would have to be imposed and followed.
“Part of the fair is you’re gathering with friends. It’s a yearly event. A lot of people that’s when they get together. To try and make them stand social distanced apart, it is just not possible,” he said.
“After reviewing federal, state and local guidelines and knowing how quickly and easily the COVID-19 virus spreads in large groups of people the board did not feel it would be possible nor prudent to have the fair at this time,” said Steve Mrozinski, president of the LaPorte County Agricultural Association, which operates the fair.
People who have purchased tickets for the fair or any of the grandstand events such as the Toby Keith concert will be contacted in the coming weeks on how those tickets will be handled, fair officials said.
Keith with a long string of No. 1 country hits like “How Do You Like Me Now” and “Beer For My Horses,” was scheduled to perform July 16.
Talks have been occurring with handlers for Keith since the COVID-19 outbreak in the event the fair had to be cancelled.
“There’s something being worked out right now. We’re still working on all of those questions and scenarios,” Stoner said.
The decision comes a week after the LaPorte County branch of Purdue Extension chose not to have its 4-H members and volunteers take part in the fair with their exhibits and competitions.
“We’re fairgoers when we’re not putting one on so it’s going to be a different summer,” Stoner said.