ANGELICA — “The Fair with the Country Smile” is less than 80 days away, and officials are still hoping to hear guidance on this year’s operations.
The Allegany County Agricultural Society, which operates the fair, reported this week that officials are still planning a mid-July fair — but can not confirm it will happen yet.
“We have been, and continue to, plan for our July 19th opening, pending the guidance issued,” the statement said. “Our staff and Board Members have walked through many different scenarios, looked at every part of what we do and continue to be hopeful to safely run the Fair. As we have more information regarding what the fair will look like we will let you know.”
The statement came shortly after Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the New York State Fair would operate in August at 50% capacity.
“However, we are not 100% certain that the announcement pertains to the county fairs in New York State, as not one word in the press conference made mention of them,” the ACAS reported. “We are hoping this is addressed in the very near future.”
Officials also commented on calls to move ahead despite the potential for risks.
“I know that each County Fair has heard “just run the event” — even without guidance,” the release said. “The reality is, that it is not feasible. Every fair will need to have a public gathering permit issued and signed off by their respective county. As in prior years, all food vendors will need health permits issued by their county health officials. It behooves each of the county fairs to continue to work with their local health departments regarding the reopening of fairs once the guidance has been released.
“While I can’t make promises for the county fairs in our region, I can promise you that the Volunteer board members at each of our fairs are trying and are hopeful. Every single fair remains strong in their commitment to agriculture. However, each fair will have to assess the guidance when it is issued, to see if it will work for them in regards to time left for planning, financial investment and return, as well as staffing. Please be supportive and understand that we are working diligently and we all want nothing more than for the fairs to happen.”
In late May 2020, officials made the call to cancel the 176th running of the fair. The fair group joined dozens of others across the state to make the call to close up, including Cattaraugus and Erie counties just days earlier. On July 2, Western New York entered Phase IV of reopening — which allowed for festivals and fairs — but the two-week timetable was too short to allow for planning the fair for a 2020 opening.
(Contact City Editor Bob Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter, @OTHBob)