The Cleveland County Fair announced limited events this year in order to combat the spread of COVID-19 at the fairgrounds while also continuing to hold the fair.
According to a Cleveland County Fair Facebook post, while the fair will remain open, it will be limited to livestock showings and open exhibits, and only participants and their families will be allowed in.
“While many fairs across the state have canceled due to the pandemic, the Fair Board worked together to find a way to protect the public while upholding the traditions of our Free Fair,” Cleveland County Fairgrounds Manager Bryan Jenkins said in the Facebook post. “We have residents who work all year to be a part of the Fair, raising livestock or working on entries, and the Board found a way to honor their work and contributions while we continue to deal with these public health issues.”
John Roberts, the public information officer of Cleveland County, said in an interview that several other precautions have been put in place in anticipation of the crowds.
Roberts said that the livestock check-ins and judging have been split across different days to further promote social distancing, and measures like hand washing stations and enhanced cleaning are already in place at the fairgrounds and will continue throughout the fair.
Roberts said the decision was made by the fair board, which met Monday night.
The nine-member fair board consists of elected officials from Cleveland County, Roberts said, and after listening to the Cleveland County Health Department and Cleveland County Emergency Management about the possible issues surrounding a large gathering, they decided that limiting the events of the fair was the best course of action.
The fair will be held Sept. 9–12, according to the Facebook post.