Appalachian Fair in limbo as organizers await health guidance


GRAY, Tenn. (WJHL)- As of Wednesday, the Appalachian Fair will still happen this summer. But fair organizers say this could change as new state and CDC health guidelines are issued.

The Appalachian Fair’s 94th year is scheduled for August 24th – 29th. Organizers say a final decision will be made by mid-June.

“We’re kind of in a limbo right now,” said Phil Booher, the Appalachian Fair’s manager.

Booher said organizers are hopeful the event will still happen. But it’s currently unknown what social distancing and sanitary standards will be required by August.

“It will be very difficult for us to do that, to have social distancing. Especially with the midway and our concerts,” he said.

Booher said acts for the concerts are already booked, and no one has pulled out yet. But an audience is needed to make them possible.

“We need to have a full house, in order to be able to pay for the concerts,” he said.

On Wednesday, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee’s office released guidelines for reopening large attractions, including amusement parks. How these guidelines will apply to large events like fairs, and how rules will change by August, remains unclear.

News Channel 11 also reached out for an update on the Washington County Fair in Abingdon. An organizer said no decision has been made yet about schedule changes for the fair. A May 14th Facebook post from the organization’s page said the event is still on.

Organizers for the Greene County Fair announced its cancellation on Wednesday.

SEE ALSO: Fair President: 2020 Greene County Fair canceled due to coronavirus concerns

“It was not an easy decision. I mean we talked about it relentlessly,” said Rhona Humbert, vice president of the Greene County Fair Board.

Humbert said around 30,000 people typically attend the fair every year.

“Every time we turned around we’d see new guidelines,” she said. “It was almost impossible for us to understand how we could do a fair during this time because of the distancing, the cleaning.”

Organizers said they look forward to a bigger, better fair in 2021.

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