North country county fair organizers get ready to reopen after pandemic

Updated: May. 18, 2021 at 5:09 PM EDT
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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - It’s the permission county fair officials have been waiting for: the greenlight to move ahead, with precautions in place.

Like a dragon rollercoaster or a carousel horse, New York’s county fairs are moving full-steam ahead.

“I’m very pleased to hear it. We’ve been planning this for a while without making any firm movements on anything, but now we can move full steam ahead - and we are,” said Bob Simpson, Jefferson County Fair president.

Governor Cuomo says it will be up to local governments to permit the fairs and the Department of Health will have to grant approval if there are more than 5,000 guests.

The state will also require county fairs to enforce 6-foot distancing among guests as well as a quick health screening.

At the 200th Lewis County Fair, president Doug Hanno doesn’t think it will be an issue.

“I don’t think they’re enforcing it to put us out of business; I think they’re doing it to help us,” he said.

And organizers want all the help they can get to make this year’s fair a success.

“We’re still two months out so there may be changes,” said Simpson.

But, preliminary plans call for the usual fun. The Gouverneur-St. Lawrence County Fair has a rodeo planned. The Jefferson County Fair is bringing in the circus and the Lewis County Fair has all of its staple events.

“We’re planning on Tuesday the 20th our fair parade, then Wednesday our truck pull, Thursday our tractor pull, Friday will be the Oak Ridge Boys, and Saturday will be our derby,” said Hanno.

Not to mention the food.

“I spoke to a food vendor just yesterday that’s been here 100 years and they’re ecstatic to be back,” said Simpson.

The Jefferson County Fair is set for July 13-18. Lewis County: July 20-25. The Gouverneur-St. Lawrence County Fair is set for August 3-8.

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