Our View: Nevada County Fair won’t be the same, but it will adapt
You won’t see the Ferris wheel spin at the Nevada County Fairgrounds this August.
No kids racing through the grounds in search of the next ride. No anticipation for corn dogs while waiting in line at Treat Street.
Like most events this year, the fair has been shuttered because of COVID-19.
This move is devastating to our community. The fair isn’t merely an annual stop for cotton candy and rides. It’s an economic engine. It’s a staple of life for many people who live here.
It’s a piece of Nevada County that, when removed, lessens us.
The board of directors of the state-owned fairgrounds had little choice. A gathering like the fair won’t be permitted until the state reaches Stage 4 of reopening, which won’t occur by August.
Simply put, we’re forbidden from holding the fair this year.
This isn’t just a hit to people who live here, but to fair-goers from across the state. There’s a reason why we claim the title of “Most Beautiful Fairgrounds.” We earn it every year, and the people who travel here from near and far know it.
Kids have worked for months raising animals for auction. Artists and gardeners, hay balers and horse riders, all of them now lack a site to showcase their skill, and maybe make a little money to boot.
Despite the loss of this year’s fair, we’ll still get a taste of what it has to offer.
Patrick Eidman, the fairgrounds’ CEO, has said he wants the community to work with the fairgrounds and its partner groups to create an online auction. A number of organizations already have shown support for such an auction, including the Nevada County Agricultural Youth Boosters and farm bureau.
Additionally, a drive-thru Treat Street, which will help local nonprofits, is in the works.
The fair won’t be what we’re used to, but then again, what is?
The Nevada County Fair must adapt, otherwise we’re left with empty buildings and an indented earth where the rides once stood.
Like everything else this year, we’ve got to move the physical event online.
If anyone knows how to do this successfully, it’s the people who operate the fairgrounds.
There’s a local movement among some people to hold a fair on private property. Whether this is realistic remains to be seen, as the state has yet to enter Stage 4 of reopening and it’s doubtful any gathering this size, regardless of whose land it’s on, would be permitted.
Add the necessary documents like site, traffic and safety plans — all submitted to the county at least 60 days before the event, of course — and you’ve got yourself some hurdles even the Ferris wheel can’t see over.
These folks’ hearts are in the right place, but an alternative fair isn’t feasible. Instead, the Nevada County Fairgrounds should reach out to them, and see how the two groups can help each other.
We all want the same thing — a fair. But the people who are most adept at providing one, have the most experience, the most professional relationships and understand how to navigate the halls of government all work at the fairgrounds.
If we want a fair, even one that’s online and in a drive-thru, the fairgrounds is where we should look for answers.
An online agricultural auction isn’t ideal. Neither is getting your corn dogs while sitting in a car. But this is the world we’re living in now. We can either deny reality and tilt at windmills, or focus our energy on making the best out of a bad situation.
Nevada County is strong. And the ride’s not over yet.
The weekly Our View editorial represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com.
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