Until told they can't, Wadena County Fair organizers are ready to celebrate the event June 18 - 21 in Wadena.
Wadena County Fair board president Darin Lehmann said by email Friday, April 17, that he's been in contact with fair leadership organizations from the Minnesota Federation of County Fairs, the Minnesota State Fair Board and the International Association of Fairs and Expositions as well as local elected officials, State Board of Animal Health, other county fair boards and other state agriculture education stakeholders regarding the current COVID-19 restrictions.
"All of these organizations are on the same page with their recommendation: it is too early to alter, postpone or cancel any fair plans," Lehmann wrote. "It really is a tough spot to be in - but it seems we are in good company - as many other businesses and organizations are in this "hurry up and wait" mode."
One major part of the Wadena County Fair is the 4-H programming and it was announced this week that the University of Minnesota extended their restriction of in-person meetings through June 30, which includes all 4-H programming. There are still opportunities to take part in online education for all Minnesotans.
"As you know, 4-H has a huge presence at our fair so this announcement does put a wrinkle in our local county fair plans, however, it does not necessarily warrant the fair to be cancelled," Lehmann wrote. "We plan to work closely with the program to see that they still have a presence at the fair and still have the opportunity to earn ribbons, premiums and state fair trips."
Wadena County 4-H youth development director Kim Dailey said while there are some concerned families and disappointment about what changes have already taken place, she remains hopeful that they can still show off the talents of the area youth in some form.
"We're not going to let our 4-Hers down," Dailey said. She was working on drafting letters to share with families on Friday, April 17 to let them know the area supervisors are coming up with a joint plan to move forward. Dailey said that there are a number of fairs in the state scheduled in June that are scrambling to adjust to the almost daily changes caused by the coronavirus concerns.
"I know that 4-H will have a presence, it will just be different," Dailey said.
If fair dates have to change, the entire event could look different. The fair board has been discussing a Plan B. Changing the date could drastically change some of the big events as they have been scheduled for several months. Lehmann said they have been in close contact with contracted events and they all hope that the fair dates continue as scheduled. None have canceled thus far.
"We are also hopeful that we will be able to carry out our enduro series race season this summer and Fear Factory Haunted House this fall and continue to plan for those events," Lehmann wrote.
If all goes as scheduled
If all goes as planned here are a number of the grandstand events:
Thursday, June 18
7 p.m., Wojo's Rodeo
Friday, June 19
7 p.m., Wojo's Rodeo
Saturday, June 20
6 p.m., Modified Tractor/Truck Pull
8 p.m., Arena ROCKS concert
Sunday, June 21
Demo/Enduro double header