Nevada County Fair canceled amid COVID-19 restrictions

“The Nevada County Fairgrounds Board of Directors voted Tuesday evening to cancel the 2020 Nevada County Fair due to the COVID-19 public health crisis.  The Board also voted to authorize an online junior livestock and ag mechanics auction.

“The vote comes after delaying the decision two weeks ago following Governor Newsom’s same-day announcement that California was moving rapidly into the next reopening stage. Since that meeting, the Fairgrounds Board and staff discussed the feasibility of different options with various Fair partners, communicated with State and public health officials, and further reviewed the Governor’s executive orders and updated guidance regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and mass gatherings.

“Nevertheless, according to the California Roadmap to Recovery, fairs and festivals remain in Stage 4 of the reopening plan and will not be permitted until the roadmap is complete and all shelter in place restrictions are lifted.  At the Governor’s May 29 daily update, he stated that ‘We’re not ready for Stage 4 – concerts, big outdoor stadium events, festivals, and large conventions. We’re simply not there. There is no sectoral guidance that’s been given, no authority for local health officials to move into that phase.’

“’While it was an extremely difficult decision for the Board, and one that we were hoping could go in a different direction, it is the only decision we could make in light of the restrictions on mass gatherings,’ said Jeanette Royal, Board President of California’s 17th District Agricultural Association.  ‘The Board and staff realize that this action has a huge impact on so many – our community, local businesses, sponsors, youth in agriculture, vendors, entertainers, local nonprofit organizations, and the Nevada County Fairgrounds itself – and we actively explored numerous possibilities before making this devastating decision. However, the Fairgrounds are state-owned property and the Board of Directors is responsible for the health and safety of our community, guests, and staff.  We are following the guidelines set by the Governor and State public health directives to postpone mass gatherings until we can safely host them again.’

“Since the 17th District Agricultural Association was formed in 1884, the Nevada County Fair has been one of the county’s most popular and longest standing events.  This will be the first time since World War II that the annual Fair will not take place.

“’We are deeply saddened to not be celebrating together at Nevada County’s favorite event,’ said Fairgrounds CEO Patrick Eidman. ‘But until we are able to safely gather again at the Fairgrounds, our team will be exploring opportunities to hold virtual exhibit contests and other activities in the spirit of the Fair.  Additionally, we are steadfastly committed to working with the Nevada County Livestock Producers to support our livestock and ag mechanics exhibitors with an online auction.’

“Last year, the Nevada County Fair welcomed more than 95,000 guests to the grounds, generated millions of dollars for the local economy, provided more than $700,000 to youth in agriculture, broke record sales on Treat Street that infused almost $1,000,000 into local nonprofit organizations, showcased local entertainers and vendors, and provided nearly 250 jobs.

“For information about the Nevada County Fairgrounds, visit NevadaCountyFair.com.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

3 thoughts on “Nevada County Fair canceled amid COVID-19 restrictions”

  1. Although we don’t see ourselves bidding in the online auction, we do wish to support the young people who spent so much time raising and getting ready to exhibit their livestock.

  2. The Fair issued this press release this afternoon:
    “Due to continued COVID-19 restrictions on mass gatherings, the Nevada County Fairgrounds Board of Directors voted Tuesday evening to cancel the 2020 Draft Horse Classic.
    “The Board made the decision to cancel the event after further reviewing the Governors executive orders and guidance regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and mass gatherings.
    “According to the California Roadmap to Recovery, festivals, big outdoor events, and other large events are in Stage 4 of the reopening plan and will not be permitted until the roadmap is complete and all shelter in place restrictions are lifted. The Draft Horse Classic, which typically welcomes more than 15,000 to the Fairgrounds for the event, is considered a mass gathering event under the current guidelines.”
    “Unfortunately, similar to the decision we had to make for the Fair, we really didn’t have a choice in light of the restrictions on mass gatherings at this time,” said Jeanette Royal, Board President of California’s 17th District Agricultural Association. “Still, it doesn’t make the decision any easier, as each event canceled has an impact on its participants, the community and the Fairgrounds, and it is disheartening to have to cancel another of our premier events. However, we have to follow the guidelines set by the Governor and State public health directives to postpone mass gatherings until we can safely host them again.”

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