Brown County Fair board shares thoughts on postponing the fair

ABERDEEN, S.D. (Press Release) – Friends of the Fair and Brown County Fair Fans;

The Fair Board, Staff, and countless key people, both from the community and those that make Brown County their home for fair week, have been have been working, planning and evaluating the 2020 Brown County Fair situation since it began in March and April. We have run through the who, what, where, when, why and hows that any event would ask itself under a normal year, but we have had to add a few more to that list this year. There are good reasons to try and push forward to have the event, but unfortunately there are more reasons that have led us to the challenging decision to postpone the Brown County Fair until 2021.

There have been many conversations with dozens and dozens of partners, too many to list them all. A rollercoaster of information has been received. There have been many emotions felt as these difficult decisions were being made. Do we cut? What do we cut? Can we run without X or Y or Z? The Brown County Fair has a very large number of moving parts that all need to move smoothly behind the scenes, in the same direction to make The Brown County Fair the memory maker we all love. If all of the moving parts don’t move smoothly in the same direction, it’s a big problem.
There are many organizations and partners depending on each other to move full steam ahead to carry out the Brown County Fair. It takes exhibitors, entertainers, contestants, carnival providers, sound and light companies, equipment providers, vendors, concessionaires, sanitation crews, staff, board members, key volunteers, an army of shift volunteers, and many organizations to carry out the major aspects of the fair. We can’t forget about you the fan, we can’t do it without all of you.
It doesn’t take a drop to zero participants to impact severely the success for the Brown County Fair. Our greatest assets, free parking, no gate admission, and a small army of volunteers, is also a very big reason for the unknown. The other major hurdle is the health and safety of many of our volunteers and fair participants, especially those in the vulnerable population groups. Most of the volunteers that help this amazing event are in those very same groups.

Another aspect that weighed heavily is the financial responsibility to the taxpayer. The Brown County Fair is funded by taxpayer dollars. The fair has been fortunate over the last number of years and has not cost the taxpayers any money including the salary and benefits for paid staff.

This was a decision that will have a big impact, but was not taken lightly. Some will grieve the decision and others will celebrate it. This isn’t a time to further the divide the community about how some were right or some were wrong. The Brown County Fair is a community event and celebration. It has to work for all of Brown County; not just certain groups, age ranges, affiliations or the loudest voices in the room.

We know from those in the public field that this will be with us for the foreseeable future, what we don’t know is how long that foreseeable future is. If we had a crystal ball and could see the future, we would be able to absolutely make the right decision no matter which way was right.

Unfortunately we don’t. We have to make the best educated decision with the information we have at the time and to think about the future and the ability for Brown County to fund future Brown County Fairs.

We appreciate everyone’s support over the years and it’s because of that support the Fair Board and Staff are working to make future fairs bigger and better, after all the Brown County Fair … It’s Kind of a Big Deal!