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Fonda Fair board members remain cautiously optimistic about this year’s fair

By BRIANA O’HARA

The Leader-Herald

FONDA — Although fairs across the state have been canceling due to the restrictions in place because of the health risks COVID-19 poses, Fonda Fair will still continue as planned in September.

Fonda Fair board members have been working closely with county and state representatives and the State Department of Health to continue to hold the Fonda Fair this year while keeping fair goers safe. The fair is expected to run Sept. 2 through 7.

“At this point in time, we are cautiously optimistic we’re going to have a fair,” said Fonda Fair Board President Richard Kennedy.

If the Fonda Fair opens as scheduled, Kennedy said there will be social distancing guidelines put in place to make sure there is a “safe environment for fair goers.”

Those guidelines and restrictions could include sanitizing carnival rides and games, keeping fair goers six feet away while in lines and limiting spectators for events.

“It’s not going to be the typical fair, “Kennedy said.

Kennedy said Fonda Speedway does plan on allowing practices starting this weekend. They will only allow a limited number of racers and will not allow spectators.

They want to allow stock car racing, especially since it may be their prime source of business.

“We’re following guidelines of social distancing and are allowing stock car racing to take place,” Kennedy said.

In June they will also start having horse and livestock shows, but there will be no spectators.

“We are in constant contact with Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort, with Montgomery County Emergency Management, with Sheriff [Jeffrey] Smith and the sheriff’s department, as well as the department of health to make sure we’re getting the proper guidelines,” Kennedy said.

If the Fonda Fair, which is one of the largest events locally, were to be canceled this year, Kennedy said it could cause a “huge” financial impact on the area. He said cancellation of the Fonda Fair which normally attracts a large crowd of people will negatively impact local businesses who won’t be getting the businesses they usually get from those crowds.

It would also have a major impact the carnival ride companies, food vendors and craft vendors.

Kennedy said opening the fair this year also depends the ride companies can safely open.

“If they can’t come to New York, we probably won’t have the fair,” Kennedy said. “We will make a decision at the end of June.”

He said most ride companies start in the south and make their way north.

“We’re holding out hope,” Kennedy said.

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