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Cambria County fair, Ag Progress Days canceled

From Mirror staff reports

Two farming-related summer traditions have fallen victim to the coronavirus.

The American Legion County Fair in Cambria County and Penn State’s Ag Progress Days won’t be held this year, organizers said.

“Due to the ongoing concerns linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, The American Legion County Fair Board has decided to cancel our 129th fair for 2020,” a release stated.

The board considered the uncertainty of the health requirements that would be in place during the fair in early September.

“There was a strong consideration of maintaining the traditions of our fair and preserving those, but with the uncertainties of the regulations linked to COVID-19, it was decided that we could not maintain the values our community holds dear and ensure the health of our fairgoers,” the release said.

Other factors weighing on the decision dealt were the uncertainty regarding gathering restrictions; participation of livestock exhibits, concessions, entertainers and volunteer groups; logistics with carnival partners; and the strain on our local economy.

“The health and safety of our fairgoers, staff, concessionaires, sponsors, entertainers and others is of utmost importance,” Bill Harker, fair president, stated in the release.

“It is clear to us that we would be unable to adhere to the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) mandates of social distancing protocols at this time,” Harker said.

Similar factors led Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences to cancel its Ag Progress Days, planned for mid-August.

“Although many areas of the state and country are beginning to reopen after the onset of COVID-19, the prospect of inviting up to 50,000 people — who come from all over Pennsylvania and even from out of state — was too much of a risk given how easily this virus spreads,” Jesse Darlington, Ag Progress Days manager, said in a release.

The decision follows those by other major Centre County events, such as the Grange Fair, Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts and Central PA 4th Fest that have canceled their 2020 events. It also complies with Wolf’s order that prohibits, until further notice, gatherings of more than 250.

“With the uncertainty of what the situation will look like in August, we don’t want to encourage the development of a coronavirus ‘hot spot’ that could lead to further restrictions on businesses and schools here and elsewhere,” Darlington said.

Deciding now helps commercial exhibitors avoid or minimize the expenses that they might have incurred in planning to exhibit at the event. He said commercial exhibitors that already have paid registration fees will have the option of a full refund or to have their fees applied to the 2021 show.

Darlington said event organizers are exploring ways to connect Ag Progress Days vendors and attendees virtually through the event’s website at http://apd.psu.edu. Faculty and staff in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Penn State Extension also are looking at providing multimedia content on the website to highlight some of the research, extension programs and demonstrations that would have been featured at the event.

Taking a break

Here are area fairs that have announced that their events for 2020 will not be held because of the coronavirus pandemic:

– American Legion (Cambria County)

– Bedford County

– Centre Grange

– Claysburg Farm Show

– Huntingdon

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