The Deschutes County Fair and Rodeo will likely be held this summer, but will be modified due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Deschutes County Fair Board members agreed Thursday to move forward with plans for the fair after it was canceled due to the pandemic last year. The board also put its support behind Geoff Hinds, director of the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center, as he organizes the event.
The board’s decision will be sent to the Deschutes County Commission to formally approve having a fair this summer.
“I look at it as an opportunity to give our citizens a celebration,” said board member Arron Curtis. “It’s an opportunity to commit to our vendor partners and give them an opportunity to survive. Quite frankly, it’s to bring back some level of economic impact to the county.”
Hinds told the board Thursday it will be impossible to host a fair like previous years, but he hopes to incorporate traditional experiences such as fair food, livestock and music.
“It won’t look like any fair we’ve ever done,” Hinds said. “ It won’t be the same, but I think it’s possible to do something that is certainly a modified version.”
Hinds said the board will have to stay flexible as state COVID-19 restrictions change leading up to the fair, which is scheduled to begin July 28.
The number of people allowed at the fairgrounds will determine parking, ticketing and how to lay out the event, Hinds said.
The fair is usually the largest county fair in the state, drawing more than 290,000 each year. While it won’t have all the same offerings, this summer’s fair will still be an enjoyable experience, Hinds said.
“I think the community is ready for entertainment,” Hinds said. “The community needs entertainment.”