After monitoring the impact of COVID-19 and consulting with organizations, such as the Dallas County Health Department and the State of Iowa, the Dallas County Fair has ultimately made the decision to postpone traditional events until 2021.
This year, the fair has instead decided to host a series of expos for both static and livestock exhibits. These expos will take place from July 6-12, kicking off with judging for the 4-H Static Exhibit on Monday and the horse show on the following Wednesday.
“It was determined that social distancing guidelines and requirements for mass gatherings included in the governor’s proclamation at that point in time, would prohibit an adequate fair experience for the thousands of fair-goers that fill our barns, arenas and grandstands,” Dallas County Fair Board President Sean Hick said. “It was a difficult decision, but we had to consider the health and safety of fair-goers, volunteers and exhibitors and make the best decision with the information we had at the time.”
Changes to the 2020 expos include a very limited audience for livestock exhibitors in order to follow social distancing guidelines. Only members, parents and two guests per family are encouraged to attend the live events. There will also be no auction held this year and 4-H contributors are asked to drop off all building exhibits before receiving written feedback from the judges.
“The pandemic has impacted our community, businesses, and events in many ways, and the county fair is no exception,” Hick said. “The fair is a summer tradition that will certainly be missed this year. Not only does it impact our community financially, but it’s a tradition that families come out to enjoy, and where exhibitors work hard year-round to showcase their accomplishments.”
Despite being postponed, Hick said that there are still several ways community members can continue to help support the Dallas County Fair. One of these includes a monetary donation that would help provide all participating youth with a premium in lieu of earning premiums through an auction. Community members can also purchase a “Sponsorship Dinner To Go” on Wednesday, July 8 from 6-8 p.m. These dinners will consist of Windsor pork chops (or hot dogs for kids), cheesy potatoes, green beans and cake, with all proceeds going to help support the Dallas County Fair.
“People look forward to the entire fair as fun, summer entertainment,” Hick said. “Every year we work to enhance the fair experience, so we are certainly looking forward to 2021 with that same enthusiasm and then some.”
Campgrounds will also be open for a first come, first serve basis, with reservations made for the 2020 fair moved to 2021 fair dates.
In addition, much of the statewide 4-H programming has been converted to online learning. Many of the state offered camps include an online presence and locally, the 4-H programs have not only distributed learning in lunch sacks at summer meal sites but have also worked with the Perry Library in order to conduct virtual “Kids in the Kitchen” classes.
More information regarding the upcoming Dallas County Fair expos or the campgrounds can be found on the Dallas County Fair’s Facebook Page.