Ashland fair

An Ashland County youth prepares to show his animal during the 2019 county fair. (Ashland Source file photo)

ASHLAND -- The 2020 Ashland County Fair will look and feel differently than any in memory, thanks to COVID-19.

No grandstand entertainment. No rides for the kids. No tractor pull. No demolition derby. 

None of those traditional county fair favorites are allowed under state orders from Gov. Mike DeWine and his Ohio Department of Health during the coronavirus pandemic.

Instead, the governor has ordered such events be limited to junior fair events in an attempt to reward young people and their animals and projects.

2020 Ashland County Fair

The 169th fair along Claremont Avenue, which officially opens Sept. 20, will be four days, instead of seven, and will be limited to junior fair activities and a food court, according to fair secretary Cathy Rice.

There will be no admission charge at the gate.

"We have had to follow the governor's orders that have changed a few times," Rice said. "Our schedule has had to change a few times. Social distancing and masks are the keys."

Similar rules will be observed that have been seen at other area county fairs:

-- Masks will be required in any indoor location, and also outdoors when six-foot social distancing can't be maintained.

-- No physical contact will be allowed among judges, exhibitors, participants, spectators, buyers, sellers, etc., including handshakes, hugs or high-fives.

-- Hand sanitizers and hand-wash stations will be available for use.

-- There will be a 10 p.m. curfew on the fairgrounds. Participants staying overnight are expected to be back in their campers by 10 p.m.

The junior fair king and queen will be chosen on Sept. 19 so the royalty will be present when the junior fair activities begin the next morning. The competition will be at 6 p.m. at the pavilion.

There will be no senior king and queen or any senior fair events.

Various junior fair competitions are planned each day. Only the participants and their family/friends can attend, according to Rice, who said each participant was allowed to invite eight people, all of whom will receive wristbands in advance to enter the barns and show arena.

A food court, open to the public with two dozen food vendors will be available each day with typical fair food, according to Rice.

"We hope people come every day to get their favorite fair foods," she said.

The animal auction will be on Sept. 23, beginning at 8:30 a.m. and continuing throughout the day. Registered buyers will also have wristbands to enter the arena, Rice said.

The auction will be live and also online at

There will be two harness racing sessions with no pari-mutual betting or spectators on Sept. 21.

Rice said organizers hope for more in 2021.

"We are looking forward to normal next year," she said.

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