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Fairboard waiting to make decision on fair

By Staff | May 17, 2020

That’s no wild west bandit, that’s Marlin Krupp doing his utmost to keep the coronavirus at bay during the Faribault County Fair fairboard meeting.

Will there be a Faribault County Fair this summer, or won’t there?

That decision has yet to be made.

The Faribault County Fair fairboard met last Monday night, May 11, after having skipped their April meeting. The main topic was to discuss the pros and cons of having a fair this summer, in light of the various state orders due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I don’t believe our intent is to make that decision (to have the fair or not) tonight,” Robin Stenzel, board member and secretary, said. “But we should decide when the date is that we have to make the decision by.”

An hour later, after a lot of discussion, the board decided that date might be May 21, when they will continue last Monday’s meeting which was recessed and not adjourned.

The Minnesota State Federation of County Fairs is going to meet on May 20, and the local fairboard is looking for guidance from them. Plus, board members would like to see if the State of Minnesota will have opened up enough restrictions by then which would allow them to have a fair at all in late July.

Or whether the governor bans having county fairs at all.

One group urging having at least one event at the fair was present at the meeting to explain their position. About six participants of the demolition derby gave their reasons for having the fair and the annual demo derby.

One derby contestant said he plans to bring four cars to the derby, and if not here, he is willing to drive six hours to another one.

“Maybe you should poll the community to see if they want to have the fair and if they will come to it if you have one,” one person said.

The derby racers added that they would like to know when the board will make a decision.

The board also heard from Carolyn Zierke, by phone, about the Flea Junktion at the fair, which she chairs.

“The venders all say they are coming if we have the event at the fair again,” Zierke reported. “None have said they won’t, in fact we have a couple new ones.”

Zierke also reported they could have some guest stars coming, including someone from the show American Pickers and someone from Junk Bonanza magazine.

The board also heard from chairman Marlin Prange that the carnival, currently located in the New Orleans area, also plans on coming.

“They said they have had some cancellations down south, but no cancellations from Iowa or Minnesota,” Prange said. “So they are also wondering what the situation is going to be like here.”

The board discussed whether crowds will be allowed to gather, how to enforce social distancing and whether people will come to the fair if they have to stay away from each other. They also discussed possible ways to hold 4-H events and competitions safely.

Another discussion was on the finances of the fair, and whether they could handle their usual fixed expenses if they do not have a fair this year.

“We have to think whether we might have low attendance at the fair and lose money, or not have the fair and not have any income this year,” Stenzel said.

And the board agreed that no matter which decision they eventually make, there will be people who will be upset about it.

“Maybe it would be better to have the governor make the decision,” one board member stated. “And let him be the bad guy.”