The Williams County Fair is looking notably different this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but one major draw for the general public will still be available: fair food.
To accommodate orders from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, the fair is restricted to junior fair, meaning 4-H events and animal shows only.
Food vendors will still be available and the general public is welcome to come to the fair and enjoy the food.
Admission has been dropped this year and parking will be in the front of the fairgrounds, where the rides usually are.
According to a post on the fair’s Facebook page, vendors include: Fiske, Pence’s, Mr. Melon Melon, Taco Express, Wood Fired Pizza and Hot Dog Wagon. These vendors will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The food trailers will be set up on the north side of the Gillette Building.
Matt Kennedy, Williams County Agricultural Society (fair board) president, said Wednesday the Fair Foundation will be doing a breakfast and lunch closer to the show arena, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.
At the beginning of the month, the Williams County Pork Producers Council announced it was not going to serve food this year, due to the pandemic.
“We are going to miss all of the volunteers and our customers this season very much, but in lieu of food service we will be offering our delicious sausage patties for purchase at Jacoby’s Ole Smokehouse in West Unity,” a statement from the council posted on the fair’s Facebook page reads. The sale will start on Friday while supplies last. “The proceeds from this sale will assist our support of the Junior Fair youth in our community.”
Kennedy said none of the other commodities will be opening their stands this year and the Athena Club won’t be making donuts.
People will be allowed to walk around the fairgrounds and can even go through the livestock barns.
However, the shows themselves will have limited attendance.
“In order to enter into the show arena, the show barn, they have to have a wristband on which would have been given to them by one of the youth exhibitors,” Kennedy said. “That’s the only restriction there for the Livestock Show Pavilion... where we’re trying to limit crowding.”
To make up for this, Bryan Municipal Utilities will be live streaming all of the Junior Fair shows. More information will be available at the Williams County Ohio State University Extension Office Facebook page.
Harness racing will take place on Wednesday, but DeWine’s orders forbid spectators in the grandstands.
Kennedy said there wouldn’t be tarps on the fences, though, so people could watch the harness racing from the fence.
“There’s not a lot going on,” Kennedy said. “I’m sure the concessionaires would be more than thrilled to see people coming in and buying food, at least, because that is their livelihoods.”
The fair begins with livestock weigh in on Friday.
On Saturday, both the dog show and the goat show will start at 9 a.m. with the poultry show commencing at 1:30 p.m. and the coronation of the fair king and queen happening at 5 p.m.
The shows continue on Sunday morning with the swine and horse shows both starting at 9 a.m.
The fair continues through Thursday, Sept. 17.