The Douglas County Fair is back.
The Douglas County Fair Board on Wednesday voted to hold a 2021 Douglas County Fair.
The 2020 fair was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This year’s fair, slated to begin Aug. 4, will be pared down from many previous fairs, with a four-day run and no national acts.
But it will feature a carnival, regional bands and the usual 4-H shows.
“It’s not going to be the same ol’ same ol’ but we’re going to make it as close as possible,” Douglas County Fairgrounds Director Dan Hults said Thursday.
“It’ll look a little different, but we’re going to have a fair, that’s the bottom line,” he said.
There won’t be any big national acts coming to the amphitheater, in part because of uncertainty about whether people will be able to take buses to the fair.
Ordinarily, bus riders make up about 50% of those attending the fair, Hults said, and those big attendance numbers are necessary to drive ticket sales that pay for big concert acts.
However, the county is working on getting local and regional bands to play.
Grounds acts, those comical or interesting characters that wander through and interact with fair-goers, will be present and often familiar.
This year’s grounds acts will include Manfred the Talking Horse, Sterling the Bubblesmith and Buck Trout.
Extreme Air Dogs will perform in the amphitheater this year, and local talent will be showcased at The News-Review Garden Park Stage.
A bull riding event is also planned for the Saturday of fair week.
Because the pandemic is in flux — the situation could be a lot better by August or it could be much the same as it is today — the county is remaining flexible about what is offered this year.
There may need to be fewer food vendors or carnival rides to make room for social distance between fairgoers, for example.
Funtastic Traveling Shows will once again run the carnival. It has already done a few shows in other places this year, so it’s experienced in setting up the rides with as much social distance as needed to allow for whatever pandemic safety rules are in place this August, Hults said.
It’s been a tough year for everybody in the community, he said.
“But right now it’s just like a big weight’s been lifted off our chest. Here we go, we’re going to have an event now. We’re excited,” he said.