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NORMAN, OK- In light of the continuing rise in cases of COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution, the Cleveland County Fair Board has made changes to the 2020 Free Fair. The Free Fair will still be held on September 9th-12th, but will be limited to livestock showings and open exhibits. These will be open to participants and their families but closed to the general public. The midway, carnival, vendors, live entertainment and food hall will be closed.
The nine member Fair Board consists of elected members from all areas of Cleveland County. The decision came after hearing from representatives from the Cleveland County Health Department and Cleveland County Emergency Management about the possible issues surrounding a gathering as large as the county free fair.
“While many fairs across the state have cancelled due to the pandemic, the Fair Board worked together to find a way to protect the public while upholding the traditions of our Free Fair,” said Bryan Jenkins, Cleveland County Fairgrounds Manager. “We have residents who work all year to be a part of the Fair, raising livestock or working on entries, and the Board found a way to honor their work and contributions while we continue to deal with these public health issues.”
Livestock entries will be split across different days, to promote further social distancing. The livestock check-in process for sheep, meat goats, dairy goats, dairy cattle and poultry will be Thursday September 10th from 7-8 PM. These animals will be shown, judged and released on Friday afternoon. Checkin for Swine and Beef will be Friday, September 11th starting at 7 PM, with showing and judging the next day.
Additionally, the Board voted to limit the non-livestock exhibits to “open class” exhibits only. Traditionally, the Free Fair has featured 4H exhibits, Oklahoma Home & Community Education Exhibits and an open class that any resident of Cleveland County may enter. Exhibits entered through 4H and OHCE normally compete to go to the state fair, since the state fair has been canceled, participants may elect to hold over their qualifying entries until next year when they would be eligible for state competition. All entries this year will be classified as “open.”
Open Class entries can be brought to the Fairgrounds on on Wednesday, September 8th from 3-8 PM, once each category is judged, the items can be picked up on Thursday afternoon.
Vendors who had already secured a booth will receive a full refund and will have first choice on retaining their selected booth space for the 2021 Free Fair.