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Summer fair tradition continues in Harvey County

The Harvey County Fair started Thursday but as a scaled back event.
The Harvey County Fair is scaled back in 2020, with many of it's events and exhibits canceled but the carnival and fair food is still on.
The Harvey County Fair is scaled back in 2020, with many of it's events and exhibits canceled but the carnival and fair food is still on.(KWCH)
Published: Jul. 30, 2020 at 4:42 AM CDT
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HARVEY COUNTY, Kan. (KWCH) - If you’re looking for a county fair experience this year, your options are few and far between.

Many of these events were pulled from the calendar for 2020.

However, Harvey County is one of the places where fairgoers will still find this summer staple. Its fair starts on July 31.

“Sort of have some semblance of normalcy,” said Harvey County Fair Association President Gary Lanier.

It’s down to the finishing touches on the Harvey County Fairgrounds for a year remarkably different from what has been traditional.

“I think the biggest thing that we need to be prepared for is smaller crowds. Yes, we’d like to see a big crowd at any other given time. That’s what drives us. We want to be something the community wants to go to,” said Lanier. “This year, we just want to be an outlet. Smaller crowds, yes more manageable. I think we’re in a place to handle those things. If you come out, be prepared to have fun. There’s a lot to be had here.”

Lanier said while they still want to provide a fun atmosphere, they’ll be taking measures to reduce risk.

“Trying to keep everything clean. There’s wash stations, hand sanitizer and please bring a mask if you’re coming,” he said.

Harvey County has a mask mandate in place.

“We’re also saying that if you feel sick, please stay at home,” Lanier said. “If you don’t feel comfortable being in the crowd or out where you can’t have control over your personal space, this might not be the venue for you.”

One of the biggest unknowns for this year’s Harvey County Fair is just what to expect. While most of the carnival rides have been set up and the fair food will still be plenty, many of the events and much of the schedule is no longer going forward.

“We’ve had some cancelations and things. Like our parade and market in the park.”

The demolition derby is still on and the local saddle club’s rodeo will close out the night Friday and Saturday.

While 4-H/FFA events and exhibits were held virtually, there will still be a youth livestock show for some of the kids but it will be closed to the public.

The fair has also set up a fundraiser to support 4-H/FFA youth livestock.

It’s as Lanier said he’s been hearing from people on both sides: excited the fair is on and who don’t want it to happen.

“Wanting to get out and not feel as isolated as this pandemic has caused us to feel in the community. Do something in a positive way for the community,” said Lanier.

For fairgoers, Lanier’s request is for them to take care of themselves and each other.

“Be mindful of your neighbor and do bring a mask with you,” said Lanier.

The fair has been working with the Harvey County Health Department and the county commissioners in their planning.

Wednesday, Harvey County reported 10 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 153 cases to date.

The county’s COVID-19 dashboard reports that disease spread has been stable and on a decline for the last 14 days.

Copyright 2020 KWCH. All rights reserved.

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