County Fair scales back to basics – no rides or night time entertainment

JACKSON, Wyo. — The 2020 Teton County Fair will be stripped back to basics this July as concerns over health orders have tied the hands of the event’s organizers.

 The Teton County Fair Board voted Monday to cancel the entertainment portion of the fair during its regularly-scheduled meeting. This means no Frazier Shows carnival, as well as cancelation of all nighttime grandstand events, live music, vendors (with the exception of food vendors), and all secondary entertainment. the 64th annual Teton County Fair is scheduled for July 17-26.

The board cited concerns for the health and safety of fair-goers and participants amid COVID-19.

“This was not an easy decision for any of us to make, but due to state health orders that limit gatherings to 250 people or less outside and 25 people inside, that really limits what we can do with this year’s fair,” said fair manager, Rachel Grimes. “We have been communicating regularly with our fellow county fairs around the state and the region to see what they are planning to ensure that we are on track with the fair industry in responding to COVID-19 impacts. Five or six other counties in Wyoming have already cancelled their fairs, except for the 4-H/FFA portions,”

The Fair Board is, first and foremost, committed to accommodating the local 4-H program and its youth at the 2020 Fair. The Board recognizes that local youth and families have made an investment, both financially and otherwise, in their projects. In addition, the open class horse show will go on, as well as the blue-ribbon Exhibit Hall. Entries will open July 1, 2020. Online registration is available and strongly encouraged, but the Teton County Fair Office is open for registration assistance.

The decision to scale down the Teton County Fair was also based on the ability to bring in enough revenue from fairgoers to offset the costs of the events.

“The entire world is facing unprecedented economic challenges due to COVID-19, and that is no different, here in Teton County,” said board chair Marybeth Hansen. “Everyone across the table is having to make sacrifices and cut things back a bit. However, this will allow us to bring the Teton County Fair back to is basics, celebrating what is happening in our own local community.”

Teton County has cut approximately 20% out of next year’s budget to help compensate revenue losses from the lodging and sales taxes, which are largely generated by tourism. The Teton County Fair is not the only agricultural event canceled in Wyoming this year due to COVID-19 concerns. On May 27, 2020, Governor Mark Gordon announced that, for the first time in 124 years, Cheyenne’s Frontier Days would be cancelled, along with five other rodeos and fairs throughout the state.

“The Teton County Fair is one of the greatest hallmarks of our community’s summer,” said board vice-chair Gary Hardeman. “It’s heartbreaking to do this, but we believe it is the best decision for everyone involved.”

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