2020 Madison County Fair canceled

Despite the rain, the Madison County Fair still went off with a hitch.

The members of the Madison County Fair Board believed that they had no other realistic options.

So, there was really no reason to delay the decision.

On Tuesday, the volunteer organization announced that the 2020 Madison County Fair had been canceled.

"There's no sense sitting still and waiting until the last minute," said Chuck Givens president of the Madison County Fair Board.

The Madison County Fair was scheduled for July 24 through August 1 at the Madison County Fairgrounds.

The board voted on Monday night.

The outcome was almost unanimous.

"Considering the Governor's and the CDC guidelines, it just doesn't allow us to do something like this," Givens said. "There's no way we can police or govern a situation like a carnival and keep the sanitation and social distancing needed."

Even though the fair was still more than 70 days away, Givens and the board were aware that the current regulations would not allow large crowds during that time.

In that phase of the state's re-opening plan (starting July 1), only 50 people will be allowed to gather in a place.

The Madison County Fair draws, on average, as much than 3,000 people each night.

"It's just not possible," Givens said. "It's not our fault. We would love to have the fair, that's why we are all there."

Crowd size was a major problem, but so was sanitation and social distancing. It was simply not possible to clean and disinfect all the attractions after every after use and keep people spread out on the rides.

Safety is the biggest issue, period.

"I didn't want anyone to blame us for making the wrong decision about the health of this community," Givens said.

There is, of course, financial consideration for the cancelation too.

By canceling the fair this far ahead of time, the Madison County Fair Board may be able to keep from losing money on agreements.

"(If we wait to the last minute), then we are contractually obligated to the vendors and some of the participants," Givens said.

Givens says he has been a member of the Madison County Fair Board for the past 24 years and has never seen the event get canceled.

"We've never had a situation like this," he said.

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