DEWITT — Light rain showers fell over the Clinton County Fairgrounds on the opening day of the county fair Wednesday. Nevertheless, that didn’t stop crowds from attending the various shows.
This year’s fair is much different than in years past, with signs posted throughout the grounds reminding people to practice social distancing. Fair Manager Mary Stevenson said that keeping everyone safe while providing family fun is her top priority.
“If you do not feel comfortable coming out being out in public, we do not want you here,” Stevenson said. “Don’t come if you don’t feel comfortable. We are strongly encouraging people to (practice) 6-feet social distancing and wear a mask if that is what you want to do. We are OK with that; follow the guidelines.”
Many in attendance took Stevenson’s advice and wore masks Wednesday. Additionally, people sat and watched the beef show, but they did so by having distance between one another.
Iowa’s Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig, who is touring all 99 counties in Iowa and was at the fair Wednesday, praised the efforts of fair leaders being able to host the fair in a safe manner.
“It’s good to be back on the road,” Naig said. “We want to be social distancing and being smart about those things. It is my first county fair this year, so it’s great to be here. I really enjoy being about to interact with young people, the 4-H’ers that are out here.”
Naig said not only is the fair beneficial for families to come out and enjoy themselves, but he said it is important to the agriculture community. He said times are hard right now for many in the ag world, but many are optimistic despite the ongoing pandemic.
“The good news is, I think we are starting to see things somewhat return to normal as we reopen the economy,” Naig said. “Prices are starting to come up and trade is starting to pick up again. So those are the type of things we need to see happen in order to see prices rebound, but there’s a long tail on this, so it’s going to take some time.”
Naig said though people are optimistic, there is still a lot of uncertainty and unknowns. He said Iowa produces a lot of goods that are needed by the world. He said those things have not changed. Naig said right now there is a market disruption, but he is remaining positive.
“I’m a big believer in the promise of agriculture and what we can do as a state going forward, and that’s what we’re focused on,” Naig said.
The fair will continue through the weekend. Also, the Viola Boyz Demo Promoters announced via their Facebook group that they are doing a demolition derby event at 3 p.m. Sunday at the fair.