DARKE COUNTY, Ohio (WDTN)– One of the Ohio’s biggest state fairs, The Great Darke County Fair is planning on reopening as usual in August after Governor Mike DeWine’s announcement Thursday.
Darke County Fair Officials say their opening day is scheduled for August 20th, almost two months after DeWine says fairs can reopen starting in June. They’re hoping the extra time will help determine exactly what the guidelines will be.
“It’s hard to try to plan for something and then have it taken away from you or having the rug pulled out from under you,’ said Darke County Fair Manager Brian Rismiller.
Every year, the Darke County Fair sees about 160,000-to-180,000 people, but cancelled their main events in 2020 due to the pandemic. They only held their Junior Fair and ended up losing money, suffering significant financial drain of approximately over $100,000.
“I’m optimistic to see what the guidelines are going to be, what the governor is going to put out, I know he mentioned what his plans are briefly, but until we see that in writing and see what he’s asking us to do it is hard to determine how exactly we’re going to do that,” said Rismiller.
Over 140 vendors rely on the Darke County Fair financially. Fair officials encourage people to be patient if the guidelines start changing, the priority is safely getting back to normal.
“After hearing Governor DeWine’s comments we encourage everybody to come to the great Darke County Fair, hope to have everyone here and have fun,” said Rismiller. “At the same time, keep everyone safe and keep safety the priority of what we’re trying to do here.”
Fair officials believe the biggest challenge for them won’t be the masks but instead social distancing. However, they encourage the public to help follow the guidelines to keep fairs open. Darke County Fair is known for under 200 vendors, grandstand events, chainsaw carving, free circus and ground acts, livestock and fine art exhibits.