FISHER — Right now, two months before it is scheduled to start, the Fisher Fair is a go.

In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jill Hardesty hopes it stays that way.

“Still on course, yes,” Fisher Fair secretary Hardesty said Monday. “But we’ll probably decide something around June 1.”

The fair is set for July 7-11 — a month after the Piatt County Fair (canceled last week) and Ford County Fair (postponed Monday) were to be held.

“The issue right now is timing for our vendors,” Hardesty said. “They’re all scheduled to come to our fair, but will they come? We don’t know.”

Cleanliness will be one key, Hardesty said, making sure tables and chairs are properly sanitized.

If the annual event is held, Hardesty is unsure about the size of the crowds.

“Will the customers come out to the fair?” Hardesty said. “They have to take responsibility for themselves also, so if somebody’s compromised, they would probably not want to come.

“Right now, those are our issues.”

Fisher Fair officials have to decide if they want to spend money for an event that might not draw well. Or is called off later.

“Do you cut the losses now?” she said. “We’re just going with what we can, and if we can’t go, we can’t go.”

Hardesty said Fisher Fair officials haven’t discussed the idea of moving it back to later in the summer or early in the fall.

This year’s Fisher Fair, if it happens, will be the 79th and feature a performance from country singer Jimmie Allen.

The fair board will ultimately make the decision, with the guidance of local health officials.

Hardesty has been in regular contact with other fairs in the state. Another conference call was scheduled for Monday night.

Champaign County Fair Board Administrative Assistant Lacey Teare confirmed the July 23-Aug. 1 event — which has The Beach Boys booked for a concert on opening day — remains on schedule with no modifications at this time.  

A notice on the home page of the fair’s website says: “The Fair Board and staff are currently working to put on the Champaign County Fair as scheduled. The health and safety of fair-goers is our top priority and we will continue to work closely with the C-U Department of Public Health and the National CDC.”

On Monday, the Ford County Fair, originally set for mid-June in Melvin, was postponed.

“After weeks of monitoring and many discussions between our board members and local health officials, we are heartbroken to announce that the 2020 Ford County Fair ... will be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” fair board President Kirk Miller wrote to vendors, exhibitors and supporters.

On May 4, Miller received a letter from Ford County Public Health Department Administrator Lana Sample.

It read in part:

“Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the Declaration of an Emergency in Illinois, and the concern for the health and safety of our residents, Ford County Public Health Department recommends that the Ford County Fair not be held in June.

“Re-evaluating the situation in mid- to late-June for the possibility of rescheduling for a later date would be a possibility.

“Unfortunately, with the current spread of COVID-19, it is difficult to predict what late summer or early fall will bring.”

If allowed, Ford County Fair leaders plan to have a shortened version of the event in August.

Last Wednesday, the Piatt County Fair board canceled this year’s event, scheduled for June 18-21.

basmussen@news-gazette.com