The Colusa County Fair is a no-go for the second year in a row.
With the exposition just four months away, the 44th District Agricultural Association made the decision Feb. 10 to cancel the 2021 fair, due to the unpredictability of the coronavirus pandemic.
Despite a drop in COVID-19 cases throughout the state – and an increase in the number of people getting vaccinated – the Fair Board last week said they don’t see a path forward until the pandemic is a thing of the past.
Most of the fairs in California scheduled before Colusa’s June 10-13 exposition have already pulled the plug,
Fair Board President Michael Doherty said the decision not to move forward was, in part, financial.
“It’s a situation where there is a potential for a large number of people to stay away because they are nervous,” Doherty said. “Half wouldn’t come.”
All events that had been planned at the Colusa County Fairgrounds since March of 2020, were cancelled, including the Colusa County Fair, Pumpkin Village, the Holiday Craft Show, and the 2021 Colusa Farm Show, which would have run Feb. 2-4. Also cancelled were all large gatherings and privately-organized events, including concerts, weddings, rodeos, and the 2020 destruction derby, which the Fairgrounds rely heavily on as part of their annual revenue.
The possibility of people staying away from the Colusa County Fair, because of COVID-19 concerns, could lead to financial ruin.
“We can’t take the risk,” said Chief Executive Officer Laura Ford.
As of Feb. 14, California has had approximately 3.4 million cases of COVID-19, resulting in 46,843 deaths, an increase of .9 percent over the previous day.
Colusa County has had 2,110 cases, resulting in 12 deaths.
As they did last year, the Fair Board will plan a live auction of market animals up until the very last opportunity to switch to a virtual sale, if local COVID-19 conditions or state requirements deem that necessary.
“It is my fervent hope that we can do a live market evaluation and a live sale, with a video component,” said Fair Board President Michael Doherty.
The protocols the Colusa County Fairgrounds had set forth for the in-person livestock auction last year were used by at least eight other live livestock auctions that did go forward in 2020.
“And of those fairs that had live shows, between Southern Oregon and Northern California, I never heard of one outbreak at any of them; not one at all,” said Director Jamie Traynham.
Ford said she has spoken with officials for a number of other fairs, with most not planning major exhibitions at this time.
“They are not concentrating on carnivals, concerts, stills and the whole fair concept,” Ford said. “They are just working on market. All the fairs that come before us, some have already cancelled.”
While the Fair Board is hopeful that an in-person market evaluation and sale will go forward, they will plan for the video component for those who want to participate virtually, Doherty said. ♣