At its monthly meeting held on March 8, the Merced County Fair Board of Directors and fair CEO unanimously made the difficult decision to cancel its upcoming 2021 Merced County Fair, scheduled to be held June 9-13. The decision was made based upon the ongoing uncertainty of COVID-19 and current restrictions on large public events in the State. However, the fair is moving forward with plans for a modified in-person livestock show and sale that aligns with COVID-19 health and safety protocols to keep this aspect of the fair tradition alive and support the hardworking 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. “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.”
Livestock exhibitions have long been an integral part of fairs and a pivotal experience; raising, exhibiting and selling their animal projects provides 4-H and FFA members with vital leadership skills to prepare them for career success, personal growth and experience in the Agribusiness.
“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. We are disappointed that we will not have the opportunity to display the hard work of our incredible community for attendees to enjoy,” said Carol Sartori-Silva, Merced County Fair Board President. “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.”
The 2021 event would have marked the 130th Merced County Fair – a longstanding tradition for the community. Through the annual fair and its 220 interim events, more than $23 million in economic impact dollars are generated for the local economy each year, based on a 2015 report put out by the California Department of Food & Agriculture. The Merced County Fair continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation and work with health officials to determine allowed operations for interim events, as well as a plan for a modified in-person livestock show.
The Merced County Fair, first founded in 1891, represents the 35th District Agricultural Association. The fair’s mission statement outlines that it “promises to meet the needs of our community by providing a fun, safe venue to celebrate our area’s agricultural heritage, discover new technology and be entertained.”
Typically, each June, the Merced County Fair welcomes more than 70,000 people from throughout Merced County and beyond to attend the five-day event. For more information about the Merced County Fair, visit www.MercedCountyFair.com.