Pierce County Fair Cancels Amid COVID-19 Public Health Concerns

Pierce County Fairgrounds sign

SEE YOU NEXT YEAR — Amid the concerns regarding the Covid-19 pandemic the Pierce County Fair Board made the difficult decision to cancel this year’s fair. But, as the sign above says, “See you in 2021!” The Pierce County Fair is not the only county fair to cancel this year, 54 of the 75 county fairs held annually in Wisconsin have cancelled as well, including the Wisconsin State Fair held in West Allis. —photo submitted

ELLSWORTH, WI – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its uncertain impact on community health, the Pierce County Board of Supervisors has passed a resolution ordering the 137th annual Pierce County Fair to be cancelled for 2020.

The Board, along with the guidance from the Pierce County Health Department, has assessed the risk to the public, exhibitors, families, employees and volunteers.  Considering the possible health risks to these groups, coupled with the uncertainty for acceptable social gathering sizes and financial implications, the Board has determined that we are unable to host the scheduled August 13-16th, 2020 public event.  The Fair will respectfully and dutifully comply with the Pierce County Board of Supervisor’s order.

While the county understands that everyone has differing opinions on COVID-19 and though the situation may improve by August, the Board had to base this decision on the current environment knowing the struggles the fair would face with sanitation, physical distancing, and liability.

Sensitivity was given to the fact that COVID-19 has negatively impacted big moments, milestones, and experiences for those across our country and we understand the public cancellation of our Fair comes with great disappointment for those who plan, attend, exhibit, participate, and support it.  However, the safety of all those involved in our Fair is our greatest priority and with the future of social gathering sizes unknown, we as a united front, decided we must take action to ensure our fairgoers and our fair family stay healthy during a time of such uncertainty.

“Our fair traditions, youth, and community are important to us.” said Fair Manager Ann Webb.  “It brings great joy to gather with friends and family, creating memories, enjoying fair food along with checking out the vendors, rides, grandstand events, entertainment and exhibits.  The impact of the Fair’s cancellation will be felt far beyond the loss of our annual celebration.  We are heartbroken for the small businesses, family farms, competitors, exhibitors, volunteers, community outreach groups, and everyone else who dedicates their time to the Pierce County Fair.  This decision was extremely difficult and will be disappointing to the public, but ultimately the health and safety of the community, the general public and key stakeholders of the Fair are of the upmost importance.  This was not an easy decision.  The complexity of the decision was extensive.  We thank our county for their support and guidance, and we look forward to next year when we can all come back together for the 2021 Pierce County Fair – August 12-15, 2021.  Until then, stay safe, be kind and support each other.”  #FairStrong

Frequently Asked Questions

Why did the Fair cancel? The Pierce County Board of Supervisors assessed the risk to our exhibitors and their families, fair stakeholders, and the general public as well as the uncertainty of social gatherings and financial implications and has determined that we are unable to host the 2020 Pierce County Fair open to the public.

Why was the Fair cancelled so early? o Many decisions regarding events at the fair need to be made months in advance thus requiring us to make the decision to cancel the fair based on the current situation and not on how we hope things will be in August.  To reduce or eliminate financial commitments incurred by stakeholders and more importantly for the health and safety of every patron, employee, vendor, entertainer, volunteer, judge and others that attend the Pierce County Fair.

What is available for the youth exhibitors? We are unable to host any judging for 2020 and look forward to offering a judging experience in 2021.  Our youth exhibitors and fair traditions are very important to us, but nothing is more important than the health and safety of every patron that joins us at the Pierce County Fair.   

What if my youth is aging out of participation and this was their last Fair? The Fair Committee along with guidance from the 4-H Youth Development Agent and the State will explore if options will be available for exhibitors at the 2021 Fair, who will have aged out of participation but within the same project areas as they were enrolled in for the 2020 Fair or as an open class exhibitor.  Any exception would need to be made under Fair rules and it would be applicable only for the 2021 Fair.  More details to come.

Will vendors, open class exhibitors and sponsors receive refunds? Yes, all vendors, open class exhibitors and sponsors will have the option to roll over their 2020 agreements and payments to the 2021 Fair or receive a full refund.  The Pierce County Fair Office will reach out to those parties directly to make arrangements.

When (and who) was the notification sent out about the cancellation? All stakeholders including 4-H/FFA, carnival, sponsors, food and commercial vendors, superintendents,  judges, volunteers, entertainment, etc. were notified by email or phone prior to the press release being sent to media on Wednesday, July 1st, 2020.

What happens to the Meat Animal Sale? The Pierce County Meat Animal Sale is managed by the Pierce County 4-H Livestock Committee.  Please email the Livestock Committee at piercecountylivestockcommittee@gmail.com with any questions.

When is the 2021 Pierce County Fair? The 2021 Pierce County Fair will be held August 12-15, 2021.  Mark your calendars now.   Please keep the 2019-2020 Fairbook as we will be using that in 2021 as a cost saving measure.

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