East Perry Fair canceled

The East Perry Community Fair board announced Friday that this year's fair, scheduled for Sept. 25-26 in Altenburg, would be canceled. The fair, first held in 1937, has been held annually since 1945. (Republic-Monitor/JUSTIN HOTOP)

Robert Cox

For the first time since 1945, the ''Best Little Fair in the Land'' has been canceled.
The East Perry Community Fair board of directors made the official announcement Friday morning, sharing a news release on the fair's Facebook page.
"The Board of Directors of the East Perry Community Fair has canceled the 2020 fair scheduled for Sept. 25-26," the statement reads. "Because of the high costs that are involved to provide traffic control, parking, transportation, sanitation, security, and medical services for our fairgoers, a large crowd is required to enable the fair to have the financial resources to put on the event each year."
Fair committee spokesman Fred Eggers told the Republic-Monitor on Thursday that the decision wasn't an easy one, but was made in the interest of public health in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic.
" We had met with the county health department a week ago," Eggers said, "and then the board met [Wednesday] night with a few others that aren't on the board but are associated, including one person who has a really good medical background, and then the decision was made not to not to have a fair this year."
Eggers said the challenges of hosting an event of this size — the fair typically draws more than 20,000 people from several counties during its two-day run in the small rural town of Altenburg — were deemed to great to overcome.
"With the way we operate, with no admission fee or anything like that, we could not control the crowd as far as social distancing and limiting the crowd any way," Eggers said. "And then secondly, our cost to provide services to the fair rose just so high that we need to have a large crowd to be able to have any money to operate with."
Friday's release stated that some fair-related events might be held on other dates this fall with limited crowds and using social distancing guidelines. The individual departments that manage these will notify the people involved once plans are made.
The East Perry Community Fair was first held in 1937 and has been held annually since then with the exception of four years — 1942-1945 — during World War II in compliance with government requests to conserve resources.
"Just as was done at that time, the fair feels that it is in the best interest of everyone to not hold a fair in 2020," the statement reads.
In Friday's statement, the board also announced the scheduled dates for next year's fair, which is set for Sept. 24-25, 2021.

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