It is official. The Four County Marias Fair will not be taking place this year. An announcement on their Facebook page stated the following:
Due to COVID-19 concerns, and under the advisement of the Toole County Commissioners, the Board of Directors of the Marias Fair Board has voted to cancel the 2020 Marias Fair, that was to be held in mid-July. A special meeting was held for the sole purpose of making the decision to either wait to the July 1 meeting to make the final decision, or decide to cancel now. After much discussion and deliberation, it was called to a vote. The result, the vote to cancel the fair, was unanimous.
Cancelled fair activities include: all evening grandstand events (PRCA Rodeos, Derby, Indian Relay Races and concerts), Open Class exhibits, midway and free act entertainment.
In no way does this affect the 4-H. MSU Extension has made, and will be making, their needed adjustments for safety precautions, for all of the 4-Hers in our four-county area.
The post went on to state that there are many factors in this decision and it was not an easy one. The main reason given is that no one knows when Montana will be able to move into Phase 3 and that in order for such events as the Marias Fair to take place this is where things need to be. With the recent rise of COVID-19 cases across the state it is to be assumed Montana will not be moving into Phase 3 soon.
In order to host such events as the Demolition Derby and the Indian Relay Races, high attendance would be needed in order to pay for them. With the restrictions that would be in place on how many people can be seated in the grandstands or gathered in the arena, this would be a problem.
The post concluded with a silver lining, “The budget money that would have been put into the fair is now going to be used to improve the fairgrounds. This could be very beneficial and something that our whole community will have the opportunity to enjoy in future years. The Marias Fair will be back and better than ever!”
As stated in the post, 4-H events will continue with precautions in place. The 4-H Livestock Auction will be held on Friday this year.
A statement from the MSU extension agents gave more details, stating “Local MSU Extension has been diligently working on plans to hold the Marias Fair 4-H events since March. Plans have been made for each phase that would follow the guidelines of the Governor’s three phases. MSU Extension has been working closely with the Toole County Commissioners and the Toole County Health Department to ensure guidelines are followed to ensure the safety of 4-H families, judges, buyers, etc. While the situation is less than ideal, local 4-H families have proved very adept at adapting to the new challenges. The livestock sale will be held in person on Friday, July 17, in the Seewald Barn at 4 p.m. Anyone interested in bidding can submit a proxy bid to their local Extension office or attend the auction in person. Additional seating will be provided at the sale to promote social distancing. All shows and the sale will be streamed on Facebook Live so that spectators can watch from home.”
For any questions or for more information on the 4-H events taking place contact the Extension Office at (406) 424-8350.