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Fair board announces cancellation of 165th annual Big Butler Fair

May 19, 2020 News Extra

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First time since the Civil War the event will not be held

PROSPECT — Despite reports last week the Big Butler Fair was holding firm and going on, the event's 15-member board of directors announced late Tuesday night that the coronavirus claimed yet another casualty.

“Due to the COVID-19 social gathering restrictions imposed by the state of Pennsylvania, the Board of Directors of the Big Butler Fair announce with heavy hearts the cancellation of the 165th Big Butler Fair,” fair board secretary Harold Dunn wrote in a statement. “Not since the Civil War has the fair been cancelled."

Dunn, a Connoquenessing Township sheep farmer, told the Eagle the board was meeting Tuesday night to review the matter and make a final decision. The fair board's vice president, Ben Roenigk, told the Eagle earlier this week the fair was definitely going on, expecting it would “be our best fair yet.”

Dunn said while the board, like Roenigk, was hopeful about the prospect of holding the 165th annual fair, the group had not met since February to discuss options and make a final decision. He added how time had run out for a wait-and-see stance during a time of social distancing and the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fair was scheduled to run from July 3 through July 11.

"We hold in highest regard our exhibitors, volunteers, fairground staff, attendees, and the community at large and wish for all good health and well being,” Dunn wrote in his email.

While the carnival entertainment was under contract, Dunn told the paper that the board needed to make a final decision about whether or not to hold the weeklong event because the fair typically has about 4,000 exhibitors that attend with various projects. The fair is one of county's largest summer events, held over the week of July 4.

“As we cancel the 2020 Big Butler Fair, we also begin planning the 2021 Big Butler Fair scheduled for July 2-July 10," the statement went on to say. "We truly look forward to

seeing our 'Fair Family' again next year and appreciate your understanding during this time.”

This is a breaking news story. To read the full story, including reaction from local 4-H members and area farm families, make sure to pick up Thursday's Butler Eagle or subscribe online.

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