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New look for Hancock County Fair; seating available

After a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hancock County Fair Board plans a bigger, better fair for 2021, Hancock County Fair Board President Franklin Powers said. One immediate, noticeable change concerns seating at the fairgrounds.

Powers said people approached fair board members in the past about making seating available for parents watching their children when the children get on a ride. In the past parents and/or guardians were forced to stand beside a ride until their children finished a ride, and then headed to another ride and stood by it while their child or children rode the ride. Over the course of a day, all that standing makes a person tired.

“We are going to have seating at the rides,” Powers said. “That is going to be a big thing.”
Powers said he expects to finish setting up this option prior to the fair opening on Wednesday.

Another visual change concerns the midway set up. In the past, the ride company set up its housing on the side of the midway closest to state Route 1389. Powers said this year the fair board moved the housing to the back of the fairgrounds. He said moving the housing provides an immediate benefit to people attending the fair.

“That is going to give us a lot more parking at the front of the fairgrounds,” Power said.
Moving the housing units and adding parking also changes the ride layout on the midway.
“The difference they are going to see are the way the rides are set up,” Powers said. “The rides are going across one side of the midway to the other.”

In an effort to make the fair more entertaining and responsive to what fairgoers want, the fair board added another event this year; the board added go cart racing.
“There seems to be a lot of interest in it,” Powers said. “It is on Friday night.”

The Demo Derby is the backbone of motorsports events at the fair, and it takes place Saturday night. Each year hundreds of fans pack the fairgrounds to watch the derby and cheer on their favorite drivers; others come just to watch the action, and do not really care who wins.
“We think that will go really well,” Powers said. “We are really trying to push it. We are paying out really good prize money for it, and the go cart racing.”

The past few weeks, the Delta variant of the Coronavirus started to flare up around the world, as well as in the United States; locally, the number of cases continue to increase, and pushed Hancock County into the red zone in the number of new cases. At this time, nothing has changed in regards to the fair.
“We have not heard a thing about Covid,” Powers said. “Nobody has said anything; the fair is on as scheduled.”

Powers said he talked to the operator’s of Casey’s Rides on Sunday, and said the owners told him all of the fairs the company worked recently took place in counties in the red regarding Covid cases.
“They went ahead and had their fair with no restrictions,” Powers said.

A change from years past includes signage. The fair board plans to erect several signs around the fairgrounds thanking all of the companies that made monetary donations to this year’s fair. Powers said several companies stepped up and made sizeable donations to help ensure the county enjoyed a terrific fair.

By Ralph Dickerson

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