Three weeks ago, the Cass County 4-H Association Board of Directors made the decision to postpone this year's fair until July 20-25 this year. On Thursday night, they decided the delayed fair will also be held virtually, meaning without spectators.
The decision to move the date to the end of July was made when there was still uncertainty about how fast Cass County would move to Stage 5 of Gov. Eric Holcomb's "Back on Track Indiana" reopening plans.
“We were uncertain if Gov. [Eric] Holcomb was going to move Cass County to Stage 5. We thought this was the best decision so families could make plans and could continue with their graduation plans,” said Association President Bryan Kistler said at the time.
Stage 5 is the final stage of the Indiana Back on Track plan that will open up activity in the state as the COVID-19 threat lessens. That stage goes into effect for most of Indiana, including Cass County, on July 4, which is the Saturday before the fair was supposed to start.
Kistler said the board members were directly in touch with the governor’s office before they made the decision to change the date. The governor’s office advised moving the fair back two weeks.
Thursday night, the fair board met again with Cass County Health Department officials. The decision to make the fair a virtual event this year was made "Due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in surrounding counties," according to a statement posted on the fair's Facebook page.
"The board was provided a recommendation from the Cass County Health Department that the 2020 Cass County Fair is either cancelled or performed virtually," the statement read.
Purdue Extension guidelines for all 2020 fairs requires approval from the local health department in order to have an in-person fair in July 2020. Without that support, the decision was made to make the fair virtual.
According to the statement, 4-H newsletters and information will be sent out to 4-H members and their families to explain how the virtual fair will work.
The board had already announced that animal projects will be done on a “show and go” basis, following Purdue Extension's recommendations. There will be a show date and time for each type of animal, and the 4-Hers will bring them in that day and take them back after the show.
Another planning meeting is schedule for Friday evening to work out details of how the fair will be run.
"It's more important to take precautions for the safety of the entire community," Kistler said.
This story will be updated