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Fair would have taken place July 15-19; smaller events may be planned for late summer

PMG PHOTO: ANNA DEL SAVIO - Attendees play bingo at the 2019 Columbia County Fair and RodeoThe 2020 Columbia County Fair and Rodeo has been canceled.

The fair board voted to cancel the annual event at a meeting on Thursday, May 7, following the release of Oregon Gov. Kate Brown's reopening framework from statewide restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The decision came after the Oregon State Fair and many other county fairs had been canceled.

"So many people in Columbia County look forward to the fair and we didn't want to preemptively cancel it if there could have been modified conditions," Fair Board President Ingrid Chamberlain said.

The fair will return in 2021, with current Columbia County Fair and Rodeo Queen Jessica Lincoln extending her reign for an additional year.

"We want to do something this summer for the community, and we've got lots of ideas," Chamberlain said.

The fair board is working to plan small events that would be within the governor's criteria for reopening.

"We're hoping that we can have some small events sometime later in the summer and into the fall. What those events are, I don't know," Chamberlain added.

Chamberlain encouraged community members to contact the fair board or attend meetings to contribute ideas for smaller events, such as plant sales, small carnivals, or any other event that residents will miss out on without the fair.

Others have also sought ways to fill the void left by fair cancellations, including Miss NPRA 2020 Nicole Rice, who organized a rodeo parade in Scappoose last weekend.

The governor's framework set out three phases for reopening. The state is currently reviewing applications from counties for Phase 1, which allows businesses to open with restrictions in counties that meet Oregon Health Authority standards.

"Concerts, conventions, festivals, live audience sports won't be possible until a reliable treatment or prevention is available. It is unknown at this time when this will be.

"Therefore, all large gatherings should be cancelled or significantly modified through at least September," the governor's May 7 presentation stated.

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