After a much-discussed, difficult decision, the 2020 Howard County Fair has been cancelled. We will be holding a handful of Virtual Events and Livestock Sale. These are private events and not open to the general public.

Full Press Release:

Each Summer, most of us look forward to the busy and sometimes crazy time of getting ready for the annual Howard County Fair.  Whether it be working with your animals, researching the best cake recipe, choosing the right photograph, or visiting the animals in the Kids n Kritter barn, they all have a special place with each of us.  This year will be much different than years’ past.

When the coronavirus first began to effect our daily lives in early Spring, the Fair Board began wondering how this could impact our fair.  I asked the Board to stray from our traditional monthly meetings to a more rigorous bi-weekly meeting schedule.  Committees were formed to discuss different areas of the Fair and how to address the potential implications the coronavirus could have on the way we operate.  As time passed, multiple possibilities and options were presented to the larger board on how to best to proceed.  While, I do not believe any of us wanted to execute our new possible plans, we could see that the virus was not going away and that we had to prepare for it.

With the Fairgrounds shut down since the beginning of the stay at home order, steps were taken to control expenses where possible.  Conversations with our partners in 4-H and the government, were sincere and cooperative in nature.  Around June 15th, the University of Maryland Extension made the decision that there would not be any in person activities with 4-H members thru the month of August.  While this was disappointing news, most of us saw this coming.  This enabled the Board to better focus on the task as at hand for us as an organization.

Valuing the importance of our youth, and a particular interest in the 4-H and FFA members of Howard County, the fair board decided to execute one of the options we had been discussing.  We would hold a youth livestock show for the youth that had registered projects with the Howard County 4-H and/or FFA program.  The show would be presented by the Fair Association with the assistance of many familiar volunteers that have been a vital part of previous fairs.  There will be a series of one day shows, limiting the number of participants and animals on the grounds at any one time.  In an effort to offer a similar opportunity to the youth that have projects other than livestock, a virtual platform has been set up for them to display their projects to be judged.  The livestock sale committee has also developed an excellent opportunity for the youth to sell their animals in a virtual livestock sale.

With the decision and plans to hold a youth livestock show in place, the fair board could now focus on the rest of the fair activities.  Discussions were held with neighboring fairs and other organizations.  Research was done to explore ways in which we could keep our visitors safe among the large crowds that often attend our Fair.  After a great deal of heart felt discussion, it was the unanimous decision of the Fair Board to not hold any of the other traditional activities that normally happen at our fair.  This was a difficult decision to make, especially as this would have been our seventy fifth annual Howard County Fair.  Regardless, we all knew this was the right decision.

We thank the hundreds of volunteers that assist in making our fair successful.  We thank the exhibitors, vendors and concession stand operators for their patience and continued cooperation with our board.  We thank the visitors for their understanding and support knowing that we we all get through this together and be back to make the true Seventy-Fifth Howard County Fair one that we all will remember.

Be Safe and see you soon.

Mickey Day, President and the dedicated members of the Howard County Fair Board