RAVALLI COUNTY — Ravalli County Fair managers say the 2020 fair is "on", even though there will probably be some changes brought about by continuing health precautions.
Not only is the Ravalli County Fair the largest community celebration in the Bitterroot, it's also the traditional end-of-summer event, coming right as we transition into September.
But knowing what the pandemic conditions will be at that point in the summer continues to be a guessing game. So this week, fair managers are announcing the event is a "go", although it will likely look different than in years past.
MELISSA SAVILLE/RAVALLI CO FAIR MANAGER
"We have been discussing what phase we need to be in to have fair," said fair manager Melissa Saville. "Whether or not we can social distance. We want to make sure that we present a safe and healthy fair for our public and guests. And we understand completely that they want fair to happen. But we are anticipating quite a few guests coming in this year. We want to make sure that we can handle all of them."
That means the fair schedule is being confirmed for September 2-5, with plans for all the usual attractions and events, from the mid-way and 4H exhibits to the grandstand shows and the Rockin' RC Rodeo.
But Saville says there's still a lot of work to do, monitoring conditions and making adjustments as conditions change through the summer.
"Absolutely. Our subcommittee is going to be working on some contingency plans in the near future here that we can share with not only the commissioners but the public," said Sayville. "Some of that'll probably be talking about, you know, what can we social distance. How do we make sure that we don't have tons of groups clumping together in the barns and the buildings."
A lot of it will come down to people's individual responsibility, and comfort levels. But the good times are guaranteed.
"Making sure that we're just encouraging people to not come if you're sick or feeling ill," said Sayville. "If you don't feel comfortable that's okay. Masks are certainly okay to be wearing/ If you don't want to wear one it's not a requirement. We're going to be picking up quite a bit of hand sanitizer and having this available at every barn, every building and just putting it out there that we're ready to have a good time and we're available for the public."
The Ravalli County Fair is currently taking vendor applications and proceeding with all the usual preparation work for the event.
You can follow that process on the "Ravalli County Fairgrounds" Facebook page.