WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - There’ll be no rides, food, or animals this July at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds.
The longest continuously operating county fair in America had to be called off because of restrictions on public gatherings due to COVID-19.
“It’s an emotionally tough decision because this was our 203rd consecutive fair. So it was a tough decision, but it’s an inevitable decision based on how things are right now,” said Bob Simpson, fair president.
Simpson says the fair is a way of life for many people, like Sharon Littlefield. She’s been showing her cows at the fair for 70 years.
"I really enjoy going; you make so many friends and it's just kind of like old home week when we go. I'm very disappointed, but I think it's probably for the best," said Littlefield.
Littlefield's granddaughter shows cow too though 4-H.
"I am sad, but I am hoping we will have a one day agriculture show where I will be able to present my animal," said Kirsten Widrick, Littlefield Farms.
"That's a discussion we might have later on when we know what we can and can't do," said Simpson.
Meanwhile, New York Pizzeria in Gouverneur has been serving food at the fair for the past 5 years.
“Obviously, I was disappointed that we won’t be able to do it like we normally do. At the same time I am also concerned with what is going on,” said Nick Ciambra, New York Pizzeria.
The fair was scheduled for July 7-12.
Lewis County has also canceled its fair this year. Organizers have set up a virtual “UnFair” on Facebook.
“This is just meant to have fun and to keep that community spirit. We know that nothing can replace the fair. Everything is unfair right now we just want to make the best of it,” said Rachel Lisk, fair manager.
Plans are not yet known for this year’s Gouverneur and St. Lawrence County Fair, which is scheduled for August 4-9.