There will be no White County Fair in 2020. White County Fair Board members gathered Wednesday evening to deliberate on whether they could host the annual event. The meeting lasted about an hour and a half as members weighed the pros, cons, and how to potentially make the event happen. Ultimately, pieces of the event that board members felt were integral to a successful fair weren’t going to be able to happen and therefore the difficult decision had to be made.
Prior to the meeting, it was already known that the queen pageant wouldn’t be happening due to the State Fair Association ruling they would skip this year. If there’s a silver lining in that, it’s that current White County Fair Queen and Illinois State Fair Queen, Kelsi Kessler of Carmi will reign for an additional year. Additionally, a carnival was going to be impossible as the provider communicated to the board that he couldn’t get licensed under the current guidelines. Beyond that, many of the food vendors that are typically part of the fair are unable to get permitting. And finally, board members agreed it would be difficult and potentially unreasonable to solicit donations from area businesses given the economic hand they’ve been dealt. In the end, board members decided without a carnival or food vendors, even a scaled down attempt to host a fair wouldn’t feel the same and because their hands were tied on certain aspects, it was best to cancel the fair and avoid putting future, much needed and relied on state funding at risk.
Most agricultural fairs in the region have already come to terms with the cancellation of this year’s events including neighboring Hamilton and Edwards Counties. Representatives of the Wayne County Fair Board are expected to gather in Fairfield Monday evening to determine the fate of the Wayne County Fair. Gallatin County’s Fair is held later in September and they have yet to make a call on that event either.