Tippecanoe County Fair might still happen this year, but not without its fair share of changes.
Purdue Extension announced in a press release on Friday that 4-H county fairs can take place starting July 4 if state health guidelines are met. Contingent on the county having reached Stage 5 of Indiana’s "Back on Track" plan, local fair boards and councils can continue to plan events.
The fifth stage of the plan, dependent on the number of coronavirus cases as Indiana slowly reopens businesses and gatherings, allows social gatherings of more than 250 people with social distancing.
Purdue Extension Director Jason Henderson says they’re most focused on adhering to social distancing guidelines for spectators in the coliseum, though he is expecting a lower attendance this year.
Additionally, high-traffic areas will be disinfected frequently, and hand sanitizer and cleaning stations for guests and employees will be available around the fairgrounds. Fair employees and volunteers will also be screened for COVID-19 daily.
All 4-H councils and boards may choose to hold their fairs virtually due to financial limitations, PPE availability or locally determined restrictions.
Henderson said the process of penning and showing animals of this year’s fairs will also be altered.
The ability to keep animals on the fairgrounds will be limited and the animal showing this year will be “show-and-go,” in which the shower brings the animal into the coliseum for judging and then leaves.
For those who are, or live with someone who is, at risk of contracting the coronavirus, the ability to participate virtually will be offered.
“We want to make sure we are doing everything possible to protect our 4-H’ers, their families and the community,” Casey Mull, assistant director of Purdue Extension, said in the release. “All 4-H youth who want to exhibit this summer will be able to through virtual or face-to-face mechanisms.”
The Tippecanoe County fair is still scheduled to start on July 18.