Sarah Ebeling | Managing Editor
The Turner County Fairgrounds will sit idle next month when it comes time for the Four Best Days of Summer.
On Monday, June 29, the Turner County Fair board made the decision to cancel this year’s fair. Fair Manager Lavonne Meyer explained that the fair board created a COVID-19 committee and met to talk about every aspect they could think of regarding the fair, the virus and keeping fairgoers safe. She said they talked about what they would need to buy to keep everyone safe and how many more volunteers they would need, knowing they would need a lot more help to make this year’s fair happen.
After discussing all the details and making note of what needed to be done, it was the phone call that came Sunday night that helped make the final decision, not slated to be made until next month. DC Lynch Carnival called to let Meyer know they would not be making the trip to Parker.
“They are not going anywhere,” said Meyer.
And so, Monday night, the board met and after voting by secret ballot, the decision was made to cancel this year’s 140th Turner County Fair.
However, Meyer said that regardless of the cancellation of the fair, 4-H kids will still have a chance to show their animals.
Turner County 4-H Program Assistant Chris Wirt said that they are striving to give 4-H’ers an opportunity to show their animals at an event planned for August.
But, 4-H has to operate under guidelines set by SDSU (South Dakota State University) and the Board of Regents.
“Even though we are planning on having our shows, we are not allowed to have the general public there,” she said.
As for the board’s decision, Meyer said, “We all thought it was more important for us to get our kids back to school in the fall, so we did not want to have a COVID outbreak related to the fair. There will be more fairs, but it is more important to get our kids back to school this year.”
She noted too that the cancellation is hard for so many different organizations.
“For all the money raised by the different entities, from commercial clubs, to schools to churches, they rely on money generated, they are not going to have that income for this year,” said Meyer.
Although the fair is canceled, there will be plenty going on behind the scenes. The fair board will continue to meet this summer and identify projects they would like to continue to work on, so, that as Meyer said, next year’s fair can be bigger and better.