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Future of 2020 Kay County Free Fair discussed at Blackwell City Council Meeting


During the Blackwell City Council meeting which was held Thursday night, one of the topics discussed was the future for the 2020 Kay County Free Fair that’s scheduled for the second week of September with a reduction to only livestock and 12 food vendors.

According to the Blackwell Journal-Tribune, Fair Board President Jake Kahle presented to the Council the Fair Board’s “scaled back” carnival which would have the fair taking place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday with livestock exhibitions on Tuesday and Wednesday. The plan also includes the food vendors socially distancing on the midway Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

A poll that was held recently showed that 80% of the people who responded voted yes to having the fair. Kahle also said that while the fair won’t be like how it usually is, the Fair Board wants to give the people something.

After Kahle spoke, Dr. Jeffrey Shuart of Stillwater Medical Center pleaded the Blackwell City Council to not have the carnival due to the massive pandemic and either wait until November, December, next Spring or possibly wait until next year. Shuart went on to say how he’s worried about individuals bringing the virus home with them and infecting loved ones.

Some nearby festivals that have already been cancelled are the Kansas and Oklahoma State fairs and the Cowley County Fair in Winfield.

Emergency Manager and Fire Chief Cory Hanebrink also addressed the council. Hanebrink cautioned the Board back at the meeting in late January on holding the traditional fair. While Hanebrink has to confirm, he spoke to coaches and was told that games this year would be played with no crowds. If the fair were to be held and an outbreak occurred. It would ruin the season completely.

Police Chief Dewayne said that the Council should remember their staff when deciding to hold the fair. Blackwell Police are used as security at the Kay County Free Fair as officers are stationed throughout the area.

The Board had encouraged the 12 vendors to promote the “to-go” orders idea which would eliminate benches, chairs and areas where attendees could gather. An idea like the Board’s is being used by the Oklahoma State Fair which announced recently that they will allow to-go orders.

The Council’s ruling will be taken back to the Fair Board to be voted on.