COVID-19 may have put last year’s fair out to pasture, but it’s not going to stop the 2021 installment.
“We’re not cancelling the fair this year,” said Fair Board president Regan Kelsey during a county Economic and Agricultural Development Committee meeting. “We have made a decision that we are having a fair.”
Kelsey said this year’s dates for the Warren County A&L Fair will be Sept. 10-18 with The Cleverlys being the headline entertainment. Kelsey emphasized the fair will continue to be free and there’s no signs of changing that.
“We have to overcome the obstacle of closing,” said Kelsey, who indicated last year it would be tough to endure a year without revenue. Having the fair this year may be a financial necessity in order for the fair to continue, he said.
The fair is a nonprofit which makes its money by putting on the fair. Kelsey did say they are looking into becoming a 501(c)3 organization and what benefits that would include.
Kelsey said Fair Board members aren’t concerned about COVID regulations at this point.
“Who knows what will be required then,” said Kelsey, “There are 150 things to do before the fair begins.”
Fair Board members still have to meet with vendors, the carnival, insurance providers, and address many other priorities before the fair arrives in five months.
Kelsey said fair officials are focused on getting the fair ready, then they will concentrate on mitigating the spread of the virus if it’s still prevalent. “Things are looking up. We are planning to move forward,” said Kelsey.
Bonnaroo will be held the weekend before the fair, and Kelsey said they may look to that festival for guidance on how to safely operate a huge event that people travel very far to visit. As of right now, Kelsey is unaware of any cancellations of the other fairs in the state.
“I was on the Tennessee Association of Fairs website, and there were no updates of a cancelled fair,” said Kelsey.
This will be Kelsey’s first fair as president.
“I’m anxious and excited,” he said, “No one is more excited for the fair than the Fair Board.”
As the third largest county fair in the state, the Warren County A&L Fair is adamant about opening this year.