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Most Events are a GO at the Dundy County Fair

     The Dundy County Ag Society and the Benkelman Lion’s Club conducted a separate meetings at the Dundy County Fairgrounds last Friday night. The top topic for discussion was the 2020 Dundy County Fair and what events would take place. Here’s the rundown of what was decided. The NSRA Rodeo, Enduro, and Stock Car races are on for sure at the 2020 Dundy County Fair. The Little Texas concert on Saturday, July 25, is a go, unless the country group cancels. According to the Ag Society, their contract states that they can cancel up to 15 days before their scheduled date, which in this case is July 11. They have canceled all their concerts up to Benkelman at this point. The AG Society is planning that the concert will happen. There will be no Beer Garden at the concert. The 4-H events will go on as planned and the exhibit halls will be open. No final decision has been made on the Benkelman PINC Ladies Turtle Races. There is NO Men’s Club Free BBQ. That has been canceled. The biggest questions involve the Lions Club Home-Owned Carnival and the parade. In order for those to happen the State of Nebraska will have to upgrade the area’s Directed Health Mandate measures to Phase 4. Currently the area is in Phase 3 of the State DHMs which specifically prohibit carnivals and parades. Jared Stamm, Ag Society President, told the board that in his discussions with the Southwest Nebraska Public Health Department, they are optimistic that Nebraska Governor Pete Rickets will upgrade the area to Phase 4 of the State DHMs this month. Whether or not that comes before the fair is the question. Stamm explainded that in order to have the events, the AG Society will have to have the support of the Southwest Nebraska Public Health District. Jeremy Borchard, who was representing the Dundy County Men’s Club, said that due to the expense, a lack of workers, and the situation with the DHMs, there will not be a Free BBQ this year. He said the Men’s Club will have the conession stand running, but there will be no tables in front of the consession stand for people to sit at. They hope that will help with social distancing between people. They are plannig to have three windows open to help keep people from crowding around the funnel cake fryer and cook who is located outside of the concession stand. However, social distancing could be an overall issue at the fair this year as there could be a larger than normal crowd of people, from a larger region, attending the events. With many venues, activities, and fairs around the region not happening this year, the Dundy County Fair could be a destination for more people than normal. Borchard said that one of the issues the Men’s Club is debating how much food to order for the concession stand. “We don’t want to get stuck with $8,000 worth of food,” he said. “We can’t get stuck with it. What do we order and how many do we plan for?” There was some concern that the Dundy County Stratton FBLA Food Booth was not going to be in operation. However, the booth has been turned over the the DCS FFA Club and they indicated to the Ag Society that they would be open and running. Borchard said, that was some good news as the Men’s Club concession stand would not be able to handle the entire crowd of people at the fair. In the meantime Dave Spahn, Ag Society Board member, wanted to make sure the board was comfortable with having the concert and events given the ongoing pandemic. “If we have 2,000 people and have a hundred cases and they trace those cases back to us, expect the national media to be here”, he said. “I believe we owe it to our sponsors to have the fair, but everyone needs to be comfortable with what could happen.” The board agreed that the fair will follow the Directed Health Mandates and any safety regulations set out. Board members said they are not required to enforce the “recomendations” put out by the Southwest Nebraska Health District or state, but only the requirements. The Ag Society also has to have the approval of the health district to open the events. As far as Social Distancing goes, The Men’s Club won’t have tables in front of the concession stand area and the Extension ladies will have social distancing precautions at the 4-H events and exhibit halls, there will also be social disstancing signs posted at the fair grounds. The Ag Society said fair workers will not be required to wear masks, but they will have hand sanitizer and gloves available.

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