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Advisory Committee Recommends 2020 Fair Cancellation: Supervisors Expected to Make Final Decision Tuesday

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2020

The Lassen County Fair Advisory Board was forced to make a difficult decision Monday night, ultimately voting to recommend to Fair Manager Jim Wolcott and the Lassen County Board of Supervisors that the 2020 County Fair be cancelled due to a host of COVID-19 related struggles. The Board of Supervisors will take up the matter and are expected to decide at next Tuesday’s special meeting whether there will be a fair in July.

The one remaining activity, the annual Jr. Livestock show and sale, would be moved online.

The idea of taking the auction online was overwhelmingly supported by the 4H and FFA leaders, parents and exhibitors, who attended the meeting to express their desire to have some sort of resolution to the looming question of whether or not the annual sale and show would be held live or virtually.

Tyler DeiRossi Wood, a fourth-year 4H member who would have been participating in his second Lassen County Fair, explained to the committee that he felt waiting to the last minute and making exhibitors prepare for two different shows was not in the best interest of the participants or the community. He implored the committee to make a decision and take action.

“The idea of a virtual show and sale is a guarantee for us,” DeiRossi Wood explained, “Not a maybe, not an if, it is a guarantee, and that is what we need right now – a guarantee.”

He originally had four market animals, two steers and two pigs, to show but only entered one steer.

“Board of Supervisors, I am asking you to think of us livestock exhibitors who have more invested in our market animal projects than any person of the public paying a daily entrance fee to the fair. You will not be able to please or make everyone happy. I have thought a lot about this and it is my true belief that for everyone’s safety, and to guarantee any sort of show and auction for livestock exhibitors is to host a virtual auction.”

DeiRossi Wood that said even if the live show were to go on, he would not be participating for the safety of his family.

Members of the Milford 4H Club attended the meeting to ask the committee to make the move to a virtual show and sale. Maddi Johnson, who was joined by club members Sam Blue, Wyatt Barton and Alena Barton, read a short statement encouraging the committee to make the decision.

Johnson said that all the club’s members, but one had voiced a preference for a virtual show and sale.

“Trying to put on a live show and sale this late would be stressful and uncertain,” Johnson said. “We support our fair manager and the board in this idea. If we have a live fair and at the last minute get shut down, I will be very sad.”

The show and auction will be all done online according to the advisory board’s recommendation, a decision which was applauded by the crowd.

Apart from the virtual show there is little left of the annual fair as we know it. The advisory council discussed a host of options – several different well thought out and organized plans – but ultimately the decision was made for them. The uncertainty of whether or not the state’s guidelines would prohibit the fair, combined with the fact that vendors, performers and attractions that normally travel a circuit of fairs during the summer were being forced to cancel as other fairs around the state shut down left Lassen without any options.

According to Fair Manager Jim Wolcott only 11 vendors had signed on to be a part of the fair so far. COVID-19 fears have caused a cascade of cancellations for companies that generally travel from fair to fair during the summer months.

With so much uncertainty and very little chance at success, the Fair Board, despite their Herculean efforts to make it happen, were left having to recommend that the fair be shelved for the year.

The Lassen County Board of Supervisors is expected to make the ultimate decision about the fair on Tuesday at 9:30 in a special meeting to be held at Jensen Hall.

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