The good news – it now looks like there will be a Hancock County Fair this year.
The bad news – it will be unlike any other fair.
After weeks of discussions and speculations, the Hancock County Agricultural Association voted in favor of having all events related to 4-H at the fair, which will be July 10-17. However, that is all that will take place, as there will no vendors, no food, no rides and no other events. The only events that will take place are those that need judged by 4-H judges.
Those in attendance will have to adhere to social distancing and other mandatory precautions, and anyone attending will be subject to tracking for the purposes of COVID-19 tracing. The information will then be turned over to the Hancock County Health Department.
While there will be judging taking place, there is no decision yet as to what each event will look like.
Officials are asking for patience from those who may attend.
“Please be patient at this time, as we do not have all the answers you may seek,” Hancock County Agricultural Association president Josh Phares and Purdue Extension Hancock County director Brian Greer wrote in a letter.
The two hope to have more concrete answers in the near future.
Officials have said the 4-H Exhibit Hall will be open for limited hours and attendance. Any project would be evaluated through a closed judging process. The arena will be open during animal events.
While that much is known, the fair is still an uncertainty, as officials wait to see if Hancock County will be part of the Stage 5 reopening, which is slated to begin July 4.
Under Stage 5, large events with more than 250 people attending can be held.
Recently, Casey Mull, assistant director of extension, 4-H Youth Development Program Leader, and Jason Henderson, Director of Extension, reached out to families stating events will have to comply with social distancing guidelines, daily screening of employees and volunteers working on behalf of the extension, and other health and safety restrictions.
Greer told Giant FM that because Indiana 4-H is a Purdue-sponsored organization, all decisions regarding postponement or cancellation of events due to COVID-19 are made at the institutional level.
“At this moment, I can’t say what exactly the fair will look like. As for whether the fair will be safer, Purdue Extension and the Hancock County 4-H are committed to ensuring the health and safety of all of our 4-H families and public fair goers. Thus, we follow guidelines provided to us by Purdue University leadership and public health officials,” Greer told Giant FM.