For the first time since World War II, there will be no Schoharie County Fair.
Joining a long list of fairs across New York State that won’t be held because of COVID-19 concerns, directors for the Cobleskill Agricultural Society voted unanimously Tuesday to cancel what would have been the 144th Sunshine Fair, August 10-15.
President Doug Cater said he hadn’t expected the decision to be unanimous.
But after he shared a list of already-cancelled fairs along with his concerns overwhether the midway would travel here just for their’s, Mr. Cater said it was clear the writing was on the wall.
“Absolutely no one wanted to have to do this,” he said. “But we knew it just wasn’t feasible. After I heard from some of the other fairs, that they hadn’t been able to get their permits, I knew right then and there we were done.”
In a letter to supporters, directors noted that after countless hours exploring options, in the end they had no choice; “The health and safety of our patrons, volunteers, and surrounding communities is our highest priority.
“We look forward to better, brighter days ahead when we can gather gain to celebrate all that is exceptional about Schoharie County. Until then, stay safe.”
The Fair had already invested in things like safety signage and masks and Mr. Cater said he’s hoping they can go ahead with outside horse shows.
While no Fair will mean they’ll save on expenses like insurance, and they’ll no longer have to worry about whether the state will reimburse them for premiums, Mr. Cater said they still have a mortgage and other expenses and count on income from other events like the horse shows and winter storage to get them through the year.
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Also cancelled Friday, is Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Family Farm Day, an event that brings visitors to farms in Schoharie, Otsego, and Delaware Counties.
Instead, CCE is planning to put together an online listing of farm products as a way to continuing building an awareness of just how important agriculture is.
During COVID-19, he said, “interest in our local food supply has skyrocketed,” said CCE’s David Cox. “CSAs, farm stands, and farmer’s markets are selling everything” and though FFD 2020 is cancelled, the online guide will be a way be a way to keep people connected with the farms.
The farm listings are free, but time is short. For more information, contact FFD coordinator David Cox at (518) 234-4303 or email Schoharie@cornell.edu.