Buchanan County Fair Association Cancels Grandstand Entertainment And Grounds Acts, 4-H Shows Remain Scheduled At This Point

NDEPENDENCE, IA- May 26, 2020: Due to the ongoing social distance guidelines and best practices put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Buchanan County Fair Association has made the difficult decision to cancel the grandstand and grounds entertainment for the 2020 Buchanan County Fair, out of an abundance of caution.

“After discussions with the Public Health Department, Emergency Management, and other partners, the fair board decided this was the necessary decision to keep Buchanan county residents safe and healthy,” said Nick Dennie, Board President.

This cancellation includes the scheduled Tractor Pull, Demo Derby, Races, Eddie Montgomery of Montgomery Gentry/LANCO concert, carnival, and grounds entertainment.

“We know that our fair is the highlight of the summer for many families, and we too are disappointed, so the board is continuing to look for ways the community can enjoy some fair-related events virtually during the fair week,” said Matthew Walthart, Board Vice President.

Buchanan County ISU Extension & Outreach has not made any cancellations regarding 4-H & FFA shows, and is working hard to put together a plan that showcases the talents and hard work of the youth in a traditional manner, while keeping guests and exhibitors healthy. Any final decisions will be made in conjunction with Buchanan County ISU Extension & Outreach, and will be announced by June 12.

“The cancellation of grandstand and grounds entertainment is a decision that was not taken lightly, and while we are all deeply saddened by the outcome, we know this is what is best to keep residents of our county, patrons, volunteers, vendors, and exhibitors safe and healthy,” said Molly Zmudka, Fair Manager.

More information can be found below in our “Frequently Asked Questions” section. Additional questions can be sent to info@buchanancountyfair.org.

Buchanan County Fair 2020 FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions: 2020 Grandstand/Grounds Entertainment Cancellation

How did the board make this decision?

This decision was not taken lightly, and was the result of months of conversations. Below are some of the main considerations:

  • Public Health: Due to the uncertainties and unknowns of COVID-19 and mass gatherings, the Buchanan County Public Health Department did not recommend we hold grandstand events, as these events bring thousands of people to one place. The Board respects the opinion Public Health, and took it to consideration as safety is our top priority.
  • CDC Guidelines & Recommendations: While discussing the requirements that we would have to put in place if we were to hold our grandstand events, it became clear that it would be difficult to comply with these guidelines and recommendations. For example, if the guidelines that exist today are still applicable on July 11th, we would not be able to keep people 6 ft. apart in our grandstands, nor could we limit the crowd to just 50%, as this would severely impact our ability to make these events financially feasible.
  • Volunteer Need: Many of our volunteers belong to a more vulnerable population and have expressed that they do not feel comfortable attending the fair this year. These are volunteers in vendor booths, our office, and other programs within the fair. Our fair is run off of volunteers, and having a strong volunteer base is necessary to be successful.

What is happening with 4-H & FFA shows?

We are still working out the details regarding the 4-H shows during fair week. It is important to us that we find a way for the exhibitors to show their hard work and talents, all while staying safe and healthy. A decision will be finalized and announced by June 12.

Will I get a refund if I purchased concert tickets?

Yes, if you purchased a concert ticket online, you will receive a refund through MIDWESTIX.

If I paid for a camping reservation, will I get my money back?

Yes, our manager, Molly Zmudka, will be reaching out to you within the next week to discuss the cancellation and camping refunds.

I’m a sponsor and I already sent in my funds—what happens now?

If you have already sent in your sponsorship payment for the 2020 fair, you have four options:

  1. Donate your 2020 sponsorship to help cover our annual operating costs so we can still run and be ready to put on the 2021 fair.
  2. Transfer your 2020 sponsorship to be applied toward the 2021 fair.
  3. Donate your 2020 sponsorship toward our capital campaign project, Building a Fair Future, which is raising money for a new 4-H Building & Events Center. (If this is your preferred option, Molly Zmudka can provide additional information)
  4. Receive a full refund for your 2020 sponsorship.

If I won a fair package at an event, will it be honored in 2021?

Yes, your package will be honored in 2021.