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Chautauqua County Fair Canceled For This Year

A longtime tradition in Chautauqua County has been postponed due to ongoing concerns related to COVID-19.

Dave Wilson, Chautauqua County Fair Board president, announced Tuesday morning that this year’s event has been canceled. He said the difficult decision was made out of caution for the safety of fair visitors, participants and the community. The board, after “careful consideration,” realized that canceling the County Fair — held each year in Dunkirk — was the right move to make to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Provided the COVID-19 situation improves to the point where it is safe to hold mass gathering, Wilson said the Chautauqua County Fair will return July 19-25, 2021.

“The impact of the fair’s cancellation will be felt far beyond the loss of our annual celebration,” he said. “We are heartbroken for the small businesses, family farms, competitors, exhibitors and everyone who rely on the income and exposure the Chautauqua County Fair brings them.

“Since 1881, we have only canceled the fair for three years during World War II when the fairgrounds were used for a prisoner of war camp for the Germans, Japanese and Italians.

“We look forward to brighter days ahead when we can gather again to celebrate all that is exceptional about Chautauqua County. Until then, stay safe, be well and support each other. We’ll miss you.”

With the cancellation, Chautauqua County 4-H youth are now unable to show off their animals. On their 4-H page, organizers state they are working on a plan. ‘We will provide opportunities for youth to showcase their projects and animals and there will be a meat animal sale. We’ll have more information to share Thursday,” they posted on Facebook.

“I think it’s terrible, a tragedy really,” said Dunkirk Councilman At-large Paul VanDenVouver. “It seems like it’s not going to be much of a summer. I think we’re just going to be waiting out until a vaccine as social distancing is a factor. The precedence has been set for the summer.”

“It didn’t surprise me at all,” Dunkirk Mayor Wilfred Rosas added. “There’s just no way to control social distancing at events like these.”

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