The Ravalli County Fair is waiting for entries for the 2020 fair. The 2020 Exhibitors Handbook was released a couple of weeks ago. With this, potential exhibitors have the guidelines and deadlines for the many entries that make up the Ravalli County Fair experience. The deadlines are in early August so there’s still time to perfect that apple pie or finish that painting. But for 4H and FFA members, they have been working on their projects since the first of the year, if not before.
In a normal year, the release of the exhibitors’ handbook wouldn’t be a big deal at all, but this year it is. It is a signal that the Ravalli County Fair Commission, the management, and the county commissioners are trying to make this as normal a year as possible with the plans for the Ravalli County Fair moving forward.
Fair manager, Melissa Saville, has been in touch with many of the other fair managers throughout Montana and says she is learning new ideas from these other managers on ways to handle social distancing and keep people safe while having a fair.
With no way of knowing what phase Montana may be in during the first week of September, a flexible strategy is important. The Fair Commission is committed to moving forward with this year’s fair and is working hard to make sure the many events of fair will go on.
Saville has talked with North Star Amusements, the owners of the carnival that comes to the fair, and they are on board to be here. North Star sent a list of measures they will be implementing to help prevent and mitigate COVID-19. Among these are more hand washing stations, hand sanitizer, paper towels and tissues. Face masks will be available in their office. The ride attendants will be provided sanitizing spray to disinfect key customer touch points and seats after each ride. They also said they could increase the space between rides to follow social distancing guidelines. Another avenue North Star is pursuing is a new ticketing system that is touch-less. It would be similar to an app on a phone and move away from the wristbands. A daily employee health log will be maintained as well.
The 4H program, which is under the directives of the Montana State Extension Office, is making plans to go forward as usual. However, in the event the state does not move into Phase 3, there will be plans in place to allow exhibitors to show their projects. The Livestock Market Sale will take place but it may end up being a virtual sale rather than a live sale.
The Rockin’ RC Rodeo, Bull-A-Rama, and Ranch Rodeo are also going to be happening at this point. The grandstands may have to have some of the seating blocked off due to social distancing. The Fair Commission will make that decision as it gets closer to the September 2 start date of the Fair.
Saville stressed that there will be sanitation stations at all of the barns, both livestock and the other buildings. She also said her maintenance crew would be doing everything thing they could to clean throughout the fairgrounds.
For more information regarding the Ravalli County Fair, go to https://ravalli.us/200/Fairgrounds or call 363-3411.