Cooper County Fair Board votes to open fairgrounds for events

Chris Bowie

The Cooper County fairgrounds will be available for rental and events after a May 28 unanimous vote of the fair board.

Due to the Phase 1 reopening plan from Gov. Mike Parson and there not being further cases of COVID-19 in Cooper County, the board felt the fairgrounds could be reopened, Information officer Larry Oerly said.

The decision was made on advice from the Cooper County Public Health Center, Cooper County Emergency Management Agency and the Cooper County Commission.

The board voted to to plan an event to showcase local youth exhibits during what would have been the 65th annual Cooper County Fair on July 21-25. Committees are working to limit the number of participants at each event, modify activities, restructure programs and increase sanitization measures for the facilities and participants, per governor recommendations, Oerly said.

While the county youth fair was canceled May 8, the livestock show and project exhibits were never canceled. Only the large fair events and those that would attract mass gatherings were affected.

“We are working through the process right now ... to have the youth events but they will be spaced out throughout the fair, where we can keep social distancing and governor’s guidelines in place while we are doing this,” Oerly said. “We want the youth to be able to showcase their projects. It’s not going to be the same as its been in the past.”

The fair board hopes to have all fair events in 2021. The board still wanted to have some sort of fair for youth this year, though, which is why limited event plans are underway.

“It’s going to be different than what we have had in the past and this year there probably won’t be as much public participation,” Oerly said.

The board also is working with the Boonville Chamber of Commerce on July 4 plans at the fairgrounds.

“It’s still in the works,” Oerly said. “Nothing has been finalized yet. We voted as a fair board that we would rent the grounds out for it, but the chamber is wanting to see if the funding is available.”

Oerly appreciates the community’s continued support. The goal always has been and will remain to do what is best for the community’s youth, he said.

“The fair board members will diligently continue to adjust and readjust plans based on the ever changing COVID-19 status,” he said.

Oerly encourages the community to visit the Cooper County Youth Fair Website for updates and any further news releases.