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Winneshiek County Fair cancels entertainment, still hopeful for 4-H and FFA

Kaitlyn Riley

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The Winneshiek County Agricultural Association announced Tuesday it will not have grounds and entertainment activities at the 2020 fair in Decorah after receiving health and legal recommendations.

The cancellation includes the Fair Races, Rodeo, Tractor Pull, Joe Stamm Band, and Saturday night acts Gabby Barrett and Jordan Davis. All carnival and grounds entertainment are also canceled.

The Nitty Gritty Dirt band, scheduled for Friday night, had already canceled their appearance at the 2020 Fair.

Public Health comments, CDC guidelines, and legal guidance from the county attorney were considered throughout this decision making process in addition with the concern to keep residents of Winneshiek County safe and healthy.

The association believed CDC guidelines recommending 6-foot social distancing would be too difficult to enforce if they were still in place by the dates of the fair which were set for July 14-18.

“The rule also severely limits the Fair’s ability to remain financially viable due to the requirement of only 50 percent capacity at any event,” the association said in a Facebook post. “Revenue deficits are simply too great to overlook.”

The Fair Board is working with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach to find a workable solution to schedule the 4-H and FFA shows.

“A great amount of time and thought was put into this decision. While it is deeply disappointing, the Fair Board looks forward to 2021. We are all very grateful for the great community support we receive each year to be able to put on the ‘Biggest Little Fair in Iowa.’ Thank You to each and every one of the businesses and individuals who help make this fair what it is.”

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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