The Merced County Fair has been cancelled for the second consecutive year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Merced County Fair Board of Directors made the unanimous decision at its meeting on Monday.
Originally, the fair was scheduled for June 9-13. Though the event is off for 2021, the fair board plans to hold a modified in-person livestock show and sale to keep the tradition alive for 4-H and FFA students.
“The decision to cancel the 2021 Merced County Fair was a heartbreaking one to make, but given the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19 we sadly do not see large public events returning by June,” said Teresa Burrola, CEO of the Merced County Fair, in a statement.
“However, we are focused on finalizing plans that would allow for a modified in-person livestock show and sale – giving our 4-H and FFA kids the important experience of showing their animal projects at our fairgrounds.”
First founded in 1891, the fair would have celebrated its 130th year had it not been for the cancellations.
That marks two years in a row that Merced County missed out on the $23 million that the fair generates annually for the local economy as over 70,000 people visit the fairgrounds each June.
“As we approach another year with no in-person Merced County Fair, we greatly miss the sights, sounds and experiences that come with our annual event – especially our Still Exhibits,” said Carol Satori-Silva, Fair Board President, in a statement.
“We are disappointed that we will not have the opportunity to display the hard work of our incredible community for attendees to enjoy. These exhibits are what make the Merced County Fair so unique and is a top highlight for fairgoers that is greatly missed, along with our other annual fair traditions.”
Friends of the Merced County Fair will host its annual Friends of the Fair Pre-Party dinner fundraiser as a drive-thru event on April 15 as a means of supporting the fair.
“Now more than ever the support of the community is critical for our fairgrounds,” Burrola said. “We are looking forward to this drive-thru fundraiser, which is a great way to enjoy a delicious meal prepared by John Pedrozo and Friends, give a taste of the fair and share a smile with friends.
“The Merced County Fair, along with many other county fairs throughout the country, plays a vital economic and cultural role throughout the Valley. We truly appreciate our community’s continued support, especially now as we struggle with minimal allowed operations.”