Seventeen total fairs in Indiana are now in jeopardy of being canceled or moved due to limitations to stop the spread of the coronavirus, including the one in Salem.
The Washington County Fair Board has announced the fair will be canceled for the first time in 81 years due to the Covid-19 Pandemic and Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb’s order that no county fair can be held before July 4.
The Washington County Farmers and Merchants Fair Association was formed in 1939 and there have been fairs each year since then.
Friday, Holcomb outlined his Back On Track plan to open up the state to regular business in five stages. The fifth stage, taking place in early July would allow conventions, sports events, fairs, festivals, the state fair, and like events to resume after that date if certain guidelines around the state are met.
In April, Purdue University requested that there be no “face-to-face” events until June 30 and a decision was made by the fair board to continue with plans for the fair.
The Washington County Fair was scheduled for June 13-20 with a kick-off parade on June 7th.
Washington County Fair Board President Cheryl Lee appeared on WSLM’s Coffee Club morning show in April and said that the board would re-evaluate on May 17th.
However, due to Friday’s announcement, she said today that the state’s plan effectively ends any hope for the fair before July 4.
“[Having activities in another month] will be open for discussion. We’re looking at other options. The fair itself is canceled,” said Lee. “No parades or anything. We’re looking at all options.”
“We are saddened by this decision, but we understand the reasoning and pray everyone stays healthy and safe as our community and state begin to recover from the pandemic,” said Lee.
Lee said the 4-H portion of the fair was on hold until May 18 to find out from Purdue University if they will be allowed to do anything in July.
The fair has been held in June since 2013 when the board moved the fair from its previous date of late July because of a rumor, at the time, of local schools going to a balanced calendar in which students could start back to school as early as July 29.
The Indiana State Fair is still on schedule at this time to start on