HONESDALE, PA — At a June 2 meeting of the Wayne County Cooperative Agricultural Society Directors and Associate Directors, it was decided to cancel the 2020 Wayne County Fair, joining many similar county fairs across Pennsylvania in the response to COVID-19.
The board’s difficult decision was made keeping in mind government regulations related to the pandemic and with the primary concern for the safety and welfare of the fair’s staff, concessionaires, 4-H participants and, of course, its loyal patrons. As of today, Wayne County remains in Gov. Wolf’s yellow restrictive phase related to the COVID-19 virus.
Unfortunately, the green phase still prohibits events and gatherings with more than 250 individuals; this simple fact creates insurmountable challenges in operating the
Wayne County Fair, which has attendance above 90,000 paid patrons annually. Additional government restrictions such as allowing only one-way foot traffic in our exhibit halls and midways, as well as maintaining social distancing on the midways and exhibit areas would be impossible to enforce and would certainly have detrimental effects on patrons' experience at the fair.
The Wayne County Fair has only been canceled on two occasions in its 158-year history. The 1888 fair was canceled because of financial problems. The 1942 fair was forgone because of a devastating flood in the pre-Jadwin Dam era. Interestingly, our records show that the 1941 fair was held but no children were allowed because of a Polio outbreak in those pre-vaccine days.
All of the fair’s volunteer directors and associate directors take their responsibilities for maintaining the community gem that is the fair with the utmost earnestness and comes to this cancellation decision with much sadness and heavy hearts. The 2021 fair dates are August 6 through August 14, 2021. See you next year!