Submitted by San Juan County Fair & Fairgrounds
On May 26, the San Juan County Council approved plans for the production of an alternative fair. The decision was made earlier in May to not host a physical fair at the San Juan County Fairgrounds, the resting place of the SJC Fair since 1924.
This decision was made with heavy minds and hearts, taking much into consideration. Not only was the health and safety of vendors, volunteers, entertainers, staff and participants a top priority; financial considerations held weight; the phased reopening of the state and its fluid timeline, and our service partners losing their routing due to our regional fairs/partners also canceling. Staff will continue to work to produce fair in a virtual format that continues to educate and entertain San Juan County residents and visitors from across the globe. We understand that this decision impacts our vendors, participants and entertainers.
In focusing on the production of an alternative fair, Aug. 12-15, fair staff, superintendents and the SJC Fair Board will work to ensure that we are able to meet our fair’s core values:
• Provide a wholesome community and family-focused fair by incorporating healthy competition, education, entertainment, and activities appropriate for all fairgoers.
• Promote agriculture, environmental sustainability and rural living.
• Operate in a safe and fiscally conscious manner.
• Invest in our clientele, our personnel, and our facilities.
• Provide the county and Washington State University 4-H program participants a venue to fulfill their projects (this year’s “venue” will be online).
• Provide a venue that encourages civic, town, and county organizations to promote and fundraise for themselves.
The alternative fair will be produced virtually; hosting online demonstrations and education, exhibits, Fair merchandise sales, entertainment, updated vendor program that encourages circulation among the islands and their local businesses and organizations, and fair food highlights. The focus is on bringing elements of Fair to all the islands by encouraging participation, which will be easier than ever as it will not require traveling to San Juan for four days in August. For those of you who have attended the fair before we still encourage your support during this transition and for those of you who have not been able to attend, now is the time to see what the fair is all about. This will not be a ticketed event, however, we will be implementing a pay what you can donation campaign to help support the 2020 fair and its programming, so please keep your eyes out for the calls to action. The fair still needs your support to be successful!
Please stay up to date as the alternative fair planning continues by visiting www.sjcfair.org or following us on social media. Your participation in the San Juan County Fair matters, and will help us continue hosting a fair at the fairgrounds when the time is right.