Oldham County Fair kicks off next week despite concerns from higher-ups

FAITH KING | WAVE 3 News

The 87th Oldham County Fair will kick off Aug. 4 and run through Aug. 8.

Steve Heggie, the Oldham County Fairgrounds spokesperson, said the Oldham County Fair Board has taken Gov. Andy Beshear’s order for venues and event spaces social distancing requirements, along with other health suggestions, and enhanced those to build their own.

“The one thing that we all understand is even in these conditions we’re living in, we have to move forward,” Heggie said. “We can’t live in fear, we’ve got to move forward.”

Along with temperature checks before entering, attendees will be required to give basic identity information in case there’s a COVID-19 case following the week. Heggie also added there will be hand sanitizer stations around the fairgrounds, rides will be cleaned after use, and social distancing will be a priority.

“If you’ve been to any types of amusement parks or any venue, you generally have to do this thing like a mousetrap going to get on the rides,” Heggie explained. “They’ve eliminated that. It’s straight on and off.”

The Oldham County Health Department and County Judge-Executive David Voegele don’t believe the fair board’s precautions are enough. In a written response to the fair’s safety requirements sent to WAVE 3 News on Friday, they said:

“The annual Oldham County Fair is scheduled for August 4-8 at the fairgrounds outside LaGrange. This year presents an unusual challenge never experienced during prior fairs. The COVID-19 virus is spreading throughout Kentucky and in Oldham County. To date, Oldham County has recorded 566 cases and sadly 12 deaths have impacted our community. Oldham County represents the 9th highest case count in the state.

CURRRENT COVID-19 CONDITIONS

KY Positivity Rate: 5.81%   (07.29.20)

Oldham County: Accelerated Spread (>10-25 case per 100K)

Area Labs: 48 hours to 10 days (for PCR test result)

We are very concerned that an event designed to attract a large number of people poses a high risk situation for continued COVID-19 spread. Those who will gather in relatively close proximity, who may not be cooperative to wear a face covering and many of whom will use and handle high touch surfaces within this venue presents an environment in which this virus will spread not only to Oldham families but our neighbors in surrounding counties.

We have expressed our serious reservations to representatives of the fair board and recommended the event be cancelled.  The fair board has decided to continue. The fair board has presented, on paper,  a COVID-19 safety plan for conducting the fair.  The plan includes requiring all participants to register at the entrance and provide phone and email contact information, temperature checks, wear masks while on the fairgrounds, minimal concessions and the sanitization of ride equipment. Never-the-less, we believe it will be very difficult to achieve full cooperation from all fair participants and still implement and execute all appropriate safety and cleaning  procedures.

Statistics present non-emotional evidence, while sickness and death are real life experiences for those family members and friends directly connected to someone who contracts the virus. No one wants to get COVID-19 and no one wants to be someone who unintendedly transmits the virus to another person. We believe the Oldham County Fair poses an unnecessary risk and recommend serious consideration before attending the event.”

Heggie feels with 22 acres of space, the plan in place will protect the majority.

”The number of people we can have there is 26 thousand, that’s 50% of our capacity,” Heggie added. “We’ve knocked it down to 25%, that’s 13,000 people, the max we can have at one time.”

For more fair information, visit the Oldham County Fairgrounds Facebook page.

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