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Chautauqua County Fair delayed until 2021

Cancellations continue

For the first time since World War II, there will not be a Chautauqua County Fair this summer.

“The safety of the Chautauqua County Fair’s visitors, participants and community is the highest priority in producing the annual fair,” the organizers said. “After careful consideration, it became clear that cancellation was the prudent choice for the fair to do its part to improve community health and safety, and reduce the cycle of infection. Provided the COVID-19 situation improves to the point where it is safe to hold mass gathering, the Chautauqua County Fair will return July 19-25, 2021.”

Said David Wilson, fair president, “The impact of the fair’s cancellation will be felt far beyond the loss of our annual celebration. We are heartbroken for the small businesses, family farms, competitors, exhibitors and everyone who rely on the income and exposure the Chautauqua County Fair brings them.

“Since 1881, we have only canceled the fair for three years during World War II when the fairgrounds were used for a prisoner of war camp for the Germans, Japanese and Italians.

“We look forward to brighter days ahead when we can gather again to celebrate all that is exceptional about Chautauqua County. Until then, stay safe, be well and support each other. We’ll miss you.”

With the cancellation, Chautauqua County 4-H youth are now unable to show off their animals. On their 4-H page, organizers state they are working on a plan. ‘We will provide opportunities for youth to showcase their projects and animals and there will be a meat animal sale. We’ll have more information to share Thursday,” they posted on Facebook.

Dunkirk city officials understood but were disappointed as well.

“I think it’s terrible, a tragedy really,” Councilman-at-large Paul VanDenVouver told the OBSERVER Tuesday. “It seems like it’s not going to be much of a summer. I think we’re just going to be waiting out until a vaccine as social distancing is a factor. The precedence has been set for the summer.”

“It didn’t surprise me at all,” Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas added. “There’s just no way to control social distancing at events like these.”

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