Dickinson County Fair to be closed to general public

Tuesday, July 7, 2020
Dickinson County youth will still have blue ribbon memories as they bring exhibits to Spirit Lake. The general public may miss out on some of the pageantry because of COVID-19 restrictions. Young Norah Johnson of Estherville was excited to get a closer look at some of the award-winning birds at last year's Dickinson County Fair.
File photos by Seth Boyes

Fair Board issues call for community support

The Dickinson County Fair may have a chick-chick here, and a chick-chick there.

But fairgoers, during the coronavirus pandemic, may be harder to come by. Details are still being worked out, but many of the usual fair spectacles will be closed to the public. The revised Dickinson County Fair is scheduled to take place July 17-23.

"Adapted versions of the 4-H youth exhibits will take place, however, these shows are not open to the public," Iowa State University Extension and Outreach County Youth/Agriculture Program Coordinator Madeleine Bretey said. "Virtual updates will be made available to the public."

Bretey said the fair will operate under recommendations from Iowa 4-H, the CDC and local public health officials.

"We have been working with our 4-H volunteers to navigate adaptions to provide youth with the best experience possible for 2020," she said. "Right now, our Showmanship Committee is in the final stages of solidifying plans to be released to our 4-H families and youth."

Sue Boettcher, the ISU Extension's Human Sciences Program Coordinator for Dickinson, Lyon, Osceola and Sioux Counties is aware of the impact on families.

"We still want the kids to have a fun fair experience and the opportunity to show off their hard work, but it certainly won't be a 'normal' fair," she said.

Chayce Forbes of the Silver Lakers 4-H Club cradled a young goat in the corner of the animal barn during the 2019 Dickinson County Fair.
File photo by Seth Boyes

COVID-19's reach goes beyond the upcoming summer tradition. Building rentals are having an impact on the fair's bottom line.

The Dickinson County Fair Board on Tuesday announced the establishment of a "Friends of the Dickinson County Fair" group for individuals and businesses to assist in funding some costs.

"Everyone agrees that 2020 has been a crazy, mixed up year," Fair Board Treasurer Susan Reiser said. "The Fair Board is usually renting out the Expo and Community Building but, because of COVID, we were forced to close the facility for the safety of residents. As a result of no rentals, the Fair Board is finding itself short of funds to pay for the judges and youth premium awards at the fair this year."

The expenses add up to about $8,100, according to Reiser. Community donations would be held in a "friends" account so the fair board can draw on the account when unexpected fair expenses occur.

"We are asking our awesome fair supporters to dig a little deeper in their pockets and become a Friend of the Dickinson County Fair," Fair Board President Doug Loerts said.

Checks can be mailed to:

Friends of the Dickinson County Fair

1602 15th St.

Spirit Lake, IA 51360.

Questions can be directed to Fair Manager John Guthrie at 336-0479.

"By now, people are tired of hearing 'together we can all get through this,' but in reality that is the truth," Reiser said. "It takes many to make things happen. We hope many will do their part to touch the lives and warm the hearts of our youth who really are our future leaders."

Bretey said everyone at Dickinson County ISU Extension has health and safety in minds.

"We understand that this situation is less than ideal for everyone involved in the Dickinson County Fair, and appreciate the support and input from the community as we navigate on how to keep the community safe, while still providing quality programming for our 4-H Youth," she said.

Related links

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: