COCKE COUNTY—On Friday, May 15, Ruth Murchison, the president of the Cocke County A&I Fair Association, made the announcement that the 2020 fair will be canceled.
Murchison sent the following statement to local media concerning the cancellation.
“The Cocke County Fair has been bringing our community together in the spirit of friendly competition and fun, centered around agriculture, for over 70 years now, and we are proud of being able to honor that traditional part of American History. We are thankful for the dedicated volunteers who have worked together through the years to do so, and also the community who has supported us.
“You might be surprised to know that even before the 2019 Fair was completed, plans were already being made for 2020. Serving on a County Fair Board is definitely a year-round job! We were well on our way to having our 2020 plans completed...and along came a virus called COVID-19! Within hours everyone’s world was turned upside down as we struggled to come to grips with its effects and how to stop its spread. Words like ‘shelter in place,’ ‘quarantine,’ and ‘self-distancing’ became the new language.
“New rules and regulations became the routine, as our community and state leaders struggled to come to grips with the best way to handle this situation, which was changing daily. Damage control and safety were the first order of business now! These decisions were not easy for anyone to make!
“Our Fair is based heavily on agriculture and its impact on our lives. Our exhibits and livestock shows are our backbone, and revolve around 4-H and FFA youth programs, which have been suspended through the end of July, so they would not be able to participate this year. Currently most carnivals are confined to their state of origin and may or may not be able to participate, and they are usually booked several years in advance, just as our fair dates are. So there are no simple answers.
“Last night, May 14, our Cocke County Fair Board held its monthly meeting and discussed at length the pros and cons of continuing with the 2020 Fair with the current restrictions and public safety guidelines that are now in place in Tennessee. Other events around the area have canceled or have the option of changing their dates. We did not have that option!
“A decision had to be made, we voted, and it is with heavy hearts that we have to announce that the 2020 Cocke County Fair, scheduled for July 20-25th, 2020, has been canceled! We thank all of you for your support through the years, and hope that you will look forward to joining us for our 2021 Fair Week....we will use this “time off” to work on improvements around the grounds and in preparation for a ‘new and improved 2021 Cocke County Fair!’ We’ve already started the planning!”