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Kentucky Proposes Scaled-Down Version of State Fair
Kentucky Ag Connection - 05/29/2020

A working proposal has been sent to Gov. Andy Beshear for a condensed Kentucky State Fair.

A scaled-back proposal for the fair is moving forward after planners sent their guidelines for the August event to the state fair board earlier this week.

The board's fair committee approved a draft plan that calls for sweeping changes in the age of COVID-19, including wider aisles, requiring masks for vendors and livestock participants, and reducing occupancy in some areas by more than 80%.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Dr. Ryan Quarles Thursday issued the following statement after the Kentucky State Fair Board submitted a draft proposal to Governor Andy Beshear to hold a modified Kentucky State Fair in August that respects public heath guidelines in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

"As Commissioner of Agriculture and a member of the Kentucky State Fair Board, I am proud of my fair board colleagues who have unanimously approved a reasonable and responsible proposal to hold the State Fair in a way that respects public health. Fair Board members are committed to putting public health first, and the draft proposal submitted to Governor Beshear's administration is one made in good faith with an understanding that we need to be flexible on how we move forward.

"I am particularly pleased with the way the Fair Board has worked with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture to hear the concerns of the agricultural community, who desperately wish to maintain great traditions like our livestock shows while respecting social distancing guidelines. We are fortunate to have a board and a staff who understand the importance of this signature event to our rural communities and Kentucky's economy.

"I am optimistic the Fair Board will be able to enter into a meaningful back and forth with Governor Beshear and his Administration as soon as possible. I believe that if Kentucky can pull off a modified Derby, we can pull off a modified State Fair. I think I speak for the entire Kentucky State Fair Board when I say we all wish to work together to give Kentuckians something to look forward to this August."

The full contents of the plan have not been made public, but the fair committee has released some of the highlights. Among them: Only people with credentials would be allowed in Broadbent Arena, while no spectators would be permitted inside Freedom Hall for the World's Championship Horse Show.

Only trainers and media would be let into Freedom Hall's upper concourse, reducing the capacity to about 310 people.

Also for the Saddlebred show, fair officials plan to no longer let stalls serve as living quarters. Barns and stalls also would not be able to host social gatherings. The show's judges will be required to wear masks; large show classes will be limited.

Outdoor concerts still would happen, but the concert area would be reconfigured to meet social distancing rules. Seating would be extended out, with six-foot rows and 10-foot cross aisles that could be adjusted.

There would also be additional portable toilets, hand sanitizing stations, barriers at transaction points and wider spaces between cattle stalls, among a raft of other measures, including a later 2 p.m. start time.

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