EMBARRASS- While Tower can claim the rights to the best small town Fourth of July, Embarrass can rightfully claim the rights to the best little regional fair in northeastern Minnesota. But that fair, …
EMBARRASS- While Tower can claim the rights to the best small town Fourth of July, Embarrass can rightfully claim the rights to the best little regional fair in northeastern Minnesota. But that fair, like so many other events this summer, is being canceled due to safety concerns over the novel coronavirus.
Embarrass Fair’s unofficial historian Roland “Charlie” Fowler said this will be only the second time the fair has been canceled in its 80-year history. The first time was just after World War II. The fair is traditionally held the fourth weekend in August.
“There was just no way to feel safe putting on something like this,” said fair committee chair Jerry Meier. “Mass gatherings just cannot be done right now.”
Meier said this was a difficult, but necessary, decision by the fair board.
“Nobody is happy about it,” he said. “But the vast majority of people in this area are older and we want to protect them.”
Meier said that Roland “Charlie” Fowler was “absolutely broken up” about the decision, but agreed it had to be made.
The only bright spot is that Team Penning will be held on Friday, Aug. 28 and Saturday, Aug. 29, and Ranch Sorting will be on Sunday, Aug. 30. So at least horse fans will still have something special to look forward to that weekend. Team penning is a great spectator sport and there is plenty of space around the horse arena to keep spectators at least six feet apart.
Meier said the board understands the hardship that the cancellation of this fair, and all the other area events, is having on their vendors.
“So many of our vendors come back year after year,” he said. “They all are hurting. They live for the summer.”
The Embarrass Region Fair Board announced the news on May 21 on their Facebook page.
The fair is organized by a large, active committee, with dozens of individuals required to get each of the many events up and running, including the Tony Morshing Mud Run, Classic Car Show, Demolition Derby, children’s games, bingo, beer garden, livestock barns, dog show, horseshoe tournament, garden and craft exhibits, food booths, live entertainment, Flying Finn Run, Miss Embarrass, Embarrass Fair Horse Show, and the parade.
Timber Hall rentals over the summer have been canceled, but Meier said they are taking reservations for the building for events planned for later in the fall.
St. Louis County Fair canceled
The decision was also made last week to cancel the St. Louis County Fair.
“The health and safety of our community is our top priority,” said the fair board in a release on Facebook. “With the COVID-19 restrictions, we feel we cannot guarantee a safe event. We are extremely disappointed but know that the right decision has been made.”
Minnesota State Fair canceled
Last year two million visitors attended the Minnesota State Fair. The so-called “Great Minnesota Get-Together” has also been canceled, with that news released on May 22.
“We all love the fair and that’s exactly why we can’t have a fair this year,” said Jerry Hammer, the fair’s general manager in a press release.
The event has been canceled before, most recently in 1946 because of a polio epidemic.
In April, Gov. Tim Walz said he had a hard time seeing the fair operating this year.