Eastern Idaho State Fair moves forward without vendors or most entertainment
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BLACKFOOT – The majority of activities and entertainment at the Eastern Idaho State Fair have now been canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Fair board members made the decision to curtail activities Friday afternoon. Though much of the entertainment will not be happening, organizers say the annual 4H Livestock competition and sale will continue as planned. The Gem State Classic Pro Rodeo will also be happening with reduced venue capacity to allow for social distancing.
“Final details and scheduling will be forthcoming, including a variety of ways you can still get your Fair Food Fix this year,” Fair spokesman Chad Hammond says in a news release.
The decision about whether to hold the fair has been an ongoing, often contentious, debate for the last several months. Much of the discussion was focused on safety due to the pandemic. Though organizers voted last month to move forward with the fair, Blackfoot Mayor Marc Carroll said the city will not host it if the board can not come up with a plan to mitigate the spread of the virus.
“Narrow and significant requirements placed on the Fair by local officials have made it impossible to hold the type of event fairgoers have come to love and expect,” Hammond says. “For the past four months, the Eastern Idaho State Fair has worked closely with both local government and health officials to find the best solution to provide a safe and inviting atmosphere at this year’s 2020 Eastern Idaho State Fair. The safety of everyone involved from our vendors, entertainers, employees, exhibitors, and fairgoers has, and always will be our number one priority.”
Action Motor Sports has been a vendor at the fair for the last five years. Controller Stephen “Dutch” Dutcher says they rely heavily on the fair to support their business and the decision not to hold it will have a significant financial impact to the local area.
“If people are concerned about COVID, they can wear a mask or not attend the fair. This event is purely voluntary, no one is forcing anyone to attend,” he says.
Fair officials say they are aware of the impact this will have on vendors.
“We recognize this decision will have a huge impact on thousands of businesses and tens of thousands of people whose talent, dedication and hard work bring our fair to life each year,” Hammond says. “Like everything during the past few months, this decision has been complex and difficult, but we look forward to coming back strong in 2021 and plan on producing one of the most amazing events our community has ever seen.”
If you purchased a pass, Hammond says it will be valid for entry to the 2021 Fair next year. Visit the website for more information.