Isanti County Fair

Isanti County fairgoers, 4-H families and the community will be missing out on the 2020 Isanti County Fair experience after the fair board postponed it until 2021. File photo by Tiffany Kafer

The Isanti County Fair Board says “see you next year” as the announcement comes to postpone the 2020 Isanti County Fair until 2021 amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The board made the official announcement to the public on May 22, after their monthly meeting the night before where the board debated and made the final decision.

“The Isanti County Fair Board has made the very difficult decision to postpone the 2020 Isanti County Fair to July 2021. Following increased and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we felt this was the best way to proceed during such an unprecedented situation. We are extremely disappointed that we are unable to hold this event for our community and supporters. We know it is the right decision based on the information we have at this time.

“The safety and health of our entire community, guests, volunteers, 4-H members, exhibitors, vendors and volunteers is our first priority and always top of mind. We did not make this decision lightly. Much thought was put into every aspect of the fair. With each and every step we took into account not only the time and effort that goes into planning the fair, but also the impact on the economy of our area. However, with the uncertainty of the times, and unknown challenges or future guidelines we are unable to be fully confident in the fact that it will be safe to gather and celebrate in July 2020. With this decision made we can pivot our energy towards continued improvements on the fairgrounds. Through efforts of our fair board members and with assistance from our ‘friends of the fair,’ we will be working on projects, and completing updates to the buildings and grounds.

“We appreciate the support you have offered us through the years, and we are as disappointed as you are knowing we will be missing out on the 2020 fair. The fair board wants you all to know that we will be using the extra time to make necessary improvements to the fairgrounds and starting preparations for the 2021 Isanti County Fair,” read the press release.

According to fair board president Bryce Sorenson, the decision was one that had to be made.

“I personally think we had no choice to hold the large event with the restrictions that were put in place,” Sorenson said. “I feel terrible because of the people who are being let down; there are jobs lost.”

Board representative Wayne Seiberlich echoed the feelings of Sorenson.

“Postponing the fair is a very difficult decision that was not easily made. It is greatly disappointing that this is the course of action we needed to take, but with so many uncertainties surrounding COVID and unknown guidelines that will be imposed in the future, we simply cannot host a fair that we are comfortable in saying that those attending will be safe and free of the effects of the coronavirus,” Seiberlich said.

Sorenson, like many others, has attended the fair for as log as he can remember.

“Both of my children were very involved, I will miss the excitement and those kids showcasing their projects. Sometimes seeing friends and neighbors is once-a-year at this great event,” Sorenson said. “I’ll miss working with all of the volunteers who make this fair go. I’ll miss attending with my family, the shows and strolling through the 4-H project building, I’ll miss the volunteers; I’ll miss it all.”

Despite having to miss out on all of the fair events for the year, the board is optimistic about the 2021 fair and will work hard throughout the remainder of the year to ensure the grounds and planning are all set for the 144th annual Isanti County Fair next July.

“With this postponement we have an opportunity to address buildings and structures that are in need of repair and updates. Projects are planned across the fairgrounds that can be completed which will enhance the fair experience for 2021,” Seiberlich said.

“All of us are in this together. All of us feel the same frustrations, sadnesses and disappointments as we face these uncertain times. I believe COVID has reminded us all the importance of people,” Seiberlich said. “Those of us with children learned what it means to be a school teacher. We don’t look at the grocery store cashier or those stocking shelves in the same way anymore. We’ve learned that we can’t take for granted that wait staff and cooks will always be at restaurants. We’ve started thanking those working the otherwise thankless jobs as we realize their importance in our everyday lives.”

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