Since 1949, the Montgomery County, Maryland, Agricultural Fair has brought people to Gaithersburg each year to see and learn about farm animals, ride the many rides and enjoy the food.
However, as has been the case with other big events in the D.C. region, organizers have decided the coronavirus makes it too risky for the event to proceed as planned.
“This would have been 72 [consecutive] years of fairs in Montgomery County; we really hate to lose it,” said Marty Svrcek, the fair’s executive director.
Svrcek said the decision to cancel this year’s fair, which draws crowds in the hundreds of thousands each year, was the right call. He said the fair is run mostly by volunteers, and many of them are high-risk.
That, in addition to the risk vendors and those attending would face, prompted planning for the August event to end.
“The decision to wait [until] next year was based really entirely on the safety, the security and making sure that the folks who come to the fair maintain their health,” Svrcek said.
Over the years, the weather has led to a day or two of the fair being canceled, but Svrcek said this is the first time the event was canceled entirely.
Svrcek said many vendors who depend on the fair for income understand the decision, even though it will be a financial hit for them.
“The real painful piece is, for many of them, this is their Christmas,” Svrcek said. “[The fair] is when they are able to make enough money to support themselves throughout the year.”
He said the family-friendly event is what many look forward to, because in addition to the competitions, the entertainment or the amusement rides, for those who work it, it’s a yearly gathering of friends.
Svrcek said each fair takes two years to plan, and as organizers push aside this year’s prep work, they’re looking to 2021.
The fair, titled the “9 Best Days of Summer,” will be held Aug. 13-21, 2021.
“We’re hoping that by not having it this year, that the separation will make the heart grow fonder and in 2021, folks will come in large numbers and enjoy what we have to offer,” he said.
For anyone who purchased tickets to this year’s event, refunds or rain checks are being offered.
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