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Spirit of county fairs still alive

It will have a different look and a different feel, but the spirit that always has been a part of the Harrison County Fair will be on display when the 173rd event gets under way Wednesday.

While the midway attractions and many of the other events and attractions that have traditionally gone into making a good county fair will be missing, the junior fair and junior livestock sale for 4-H and FAA members will be presented, working under state guidelines and restrictions that have been put in place in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of bidders allowed into the arena will be limited when the show opens at 1 p.m. Friday. No animals will be present during the actual sale, and no physical contact will be permitted among judges, exhibitors, buyers or sellers. There will be no congratulatory handshakes or hugs, and photo opportunities with the winning bidders and the young men and women who raised the animals will be limited.

It’s easy to look at those changes and the other things that will be missing from the fair — there will be no fashion show, for instance, and no dinner served at the sale — but organizers continue to work hard to make sure that the essence of the fair remains.

That includes Wednesday’s 9 a.m. opening ceremony, during which a fair queen and king will be selected. Plans also call for a reduced number of vendors to be on site, which will allow those who attend to get a taste of fair food, delicacies that only are available this time of year.

Concerns about the coronavirus have forced changes in all aspects of our lives, and that includes much-anticipated events such as fairs. While this year’s Carroll County Fair and the Ohio and West Virginia state fairs have been canceled, organizers of the Jefferson County Fair are planning a limited event for Aug. 18-23, and the Belmont County Fair is scheduled for Sept. 8-13.

County fairs celebrate the good things in our lives, and we are happy to know that there are many people working hard to make sure those traditional events can continue.

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