Scotts Bluff County Agricultural Society moves forward with plans for the county fair

Travis Schaff gets ready to put the baton in Michael Haywire's shirt as they competed in the 2019 Rubber Check Race.

The 2020 Scotts Bluff County Fair remains on the summer schedule for July 25 through Aug. 1, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The 133rd annual county fair will look a little different this year due to COVID-19. The Grand Stand will be open at only 75% capacity, people will be encouraged to social distance, and the fairgrounds will be dotted with hand sanitizer stations.

“We are following the guidelines that are out there,” Scotts Bluff County Agricultural Society manager Lanna Hubbard said. “We do have a lot of individuals who will (come) and we want them safe.”

In addition to these measures, the fairgrounds will encourage mask wearing, and two gate entrances will be opened up to the Grand Stand to provide a larger area for people to keep their distance.

The organizers of the county fair felt it important to continue with their plans for the fair — with adjustments — if not for anyone else, for the kids.

“It has been tough this year because of ever-changing guidelines and everything going on in the world,” Matt Silverman, president of the Scotts Bluff County Agricultural Society, said. “It’s super important that we put a fair on for the kids and all their projects. We have 4-H and FFA kids growing crops and raising livestock. We need to show off their things they brought to the fair.”

Scotts Bluff County is in phase 3 of reopening until at least July 31, which means most of the county fair activities can continue while following specific guidelines. The Mitchell Chamber did announce the cancellation of this year’s county fair parade. However, its cancellation did not deter the rest of the fair from moving forward. Hubbard explained that decision was up to the chamber while the decision about the fair itself is decided by the agricultural society.

The other main event that will not be taking place during this year’s fair is the carnival. Hubbard said carnivals are not allowed during phase 3, and the date phase 4 will be implemented is still up in the air. Planet Bounce of Gering will be coming to the fair though, Hubbard said, stressing their practice of good sanitation.

Despite the decision to move forward with the fair, Hubbard acknowledged that some community members might still feel uncomfortable attending.

“We encourage the public that, if they are not comfortable coming, we totally understand,” she said.

Silverman suggested that for those people who have compromised immune systems or other reasons to not attend the fair, fair-goers play the Good Samaritan to help them “experience the fair from afar.”

“If you have a family member at risk but goes to the fair every year, get them a to-go plate,” Silverman said. “We don’t want anyone to get sick. We just want to provide a big open space where people can still enjoy the fair. It should be a good one.”

The week-long fair begins on Saturday, July 25 with 4-H and FFA events. Grand Stand events begin Tuesday night with chore time Rrlays put on by FFA alumni.

Wednesday night features the Heartland Truck and Tractor Pull.

Fun Pianos!, a dueling pianos show by 176 Keys, was recently added to the line up for Thursday night.

Friday night will showcase No Limits Monster Trucks, including the nationally-acclaimed Bear Foot monster truck.

The 37th annual Rubber Check Race will take place on Saturday. #HOMEPAGE

The demolition derby is scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 15.

You can learn more about this year’s county fair and register to participate in events at www.scottsbluffcountyfairgrounds.com.

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