By Randy Arrington
LURAY, July 16 — In light of current public health restrictions — as well as the potential for the COVID-19 pandemic to get worse over the next 30 days — the board of directors for the Page Valley Fair canceled the 68th annual event originally planned for Aug. 23-29 at a meeting last week.
“It is with sincere regrets that the officers and directors of the Page Valley Agricultural and Industrial Fair decided at their July meeting to cancel the 2020 Fair. The 38 pages of legal restrictions for the event were overwhelming — to put it mildly,” read a public announcement published by the fair association this week.
Phase III restrictions implemented by Virginia would only allow 1,000 attendees at county fairs and require social distancing of up to 10 feet. These public health restrictions (with no sign of being lifted anytime soon) also prompted the directors of the Shenandoah County Fair to announce its cancellation last Thursday. Warren County decided to move its fair from late July to Aug. 17-22, according to its website. While Warren has canceled its beauty pageants, most other events seem to still be a go for late August. Rockingham County has opted to keep its fair scheduled for the same dates, Aug. 17-22 — although the Rockingham County Fair’s board of directors have a meeting planned for July 22 and a final decision is expected after that meeting.
An announcement posted July 7 on the Page Valley Fair’s website indicates that youth livestock shows will continue as planned.
“We regret to announce, that due to COVID-19 restrictions and current State of Virginia regulations, all of the 2020 Page Valley Agricultural and Industrial Fair events will be cancelled, with the exception of the Page County 4-H Livestock Sale and Shows,” the website states.
Shenandoah County has opted to reschedule its 4-H and FFA activities for September, but no official dates have been announced. The fairgrounds in Shenandoah County also plan to host harness racing again this fall on Fridays and Saturdays from Sept. 18 to Oct. 17, but no betting will be allowed due to social distancing concerns.
The public notice published this week by the Page Valley Fair goes on to state: “No commercial or open shows will be permitted. There will be no fair catalog, but a brochure is being considered. Many of the businesses who provide support to the Fair are also hurt by this COVID-19 pandemic. Money will be tight in Page County, more so than usual.”
In addition to cancelling the annual Page Valley Fair in August, “the Fair Wine Festival and Yard Sale scheduled for July have been canceled for 2020. Everyone hopes 2021 will return to more of the old norm,” according to the fair association’s published statement. The Yard Sale was previously scheduled for this weekend, Saturday, July 18.
Despite the lack of revenue from hosting the annual fair, the Page Valley Fair Scholarship Fund is hoping to raise money to continue the program through a raffle of 500 tickets sold for $2 each. A drawing will be held on Aug. 29. The prize will be either a handmade saddle rack or $200 in cash. Those wishing to help with the project may contact Louise Mauck at (540) 244-6877.
For more information and further announcements, visit PageValleyFair.org