While plans are being made for the 2020 Graham County Fair, scheduled for Oct. 8-11, those plans could change due to the current pandemic.
People in the Gila Valley may still get to enjoy the rides, midway games and exhibits — not to mention the deep-fried sweets — but the county is keeping an eye on the COVID-19 situation.
“We are planning and hoping for a county fair as we’ve had in previous years. However, there is the possibility of scaling down to meet the situation at the time,” said County Manager Dustin Welker. “We have every hope and intention of going ahead with it full-bore but, understanding that might not be a possibility, we’re working on alternative plans.”
Welker said it was uncertain whether the County Fair Parade, scheduled for Oct. 9, would proceed.
One possible alternate plan is scaling the fair back to the livestock show and auction — as Greenlee County has done — where Graham County Junior Livestock and 4-H youth display and sell their animals.
“If the fair is canceled, we intend to do everything we can to continue the livestock show and auction,” said County Supervisor Danny Smith.
The Graham County Junior Livestock Auction Board is working to decide what safety precautions they will put in place in the fair goes on as planned, but also on a contingency plan they can turn if it doesn’t.
The Board of Supervisors plans to review the scale of the fair, scheduled for Oct. 8-11, on Aug. 24 (45 days before opening day) and again on Sept. 8, when they will evaluate the safety of holding the event.
If the fair goes ahead, some changes made earlier this year could make it more attractive for local and non-profit vendors. Those included reducing vendor deposits from $250 to $150; waiving deposits for non-profit vendors; reducing local vendors’ fees from $275 to $250 a booth; charging deposits per vendor, not per booth; and a variety of vendor discounts.
“I’m really pleased with the changes,” said Smith. “I think, with these, we’re going to wind up with a better fair.”