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Boise State Public Radio News is here to keep you current on the news surrounding COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The Cluck Stops Here: Western Idaho Fair On Hold Until 2021

western_idaho_fair_chickens_grand_champion.jpg
James Dawson
/
Boise State Public Radio
A grand champion bantam at the 2018 Western Idaho Fair. Organizers are cancelling this year's event over fears of spreading the coronavirus.

You’ll have to look elsewhere for your corndog or elephant ear fix come August. Organizers of the Western Idaho Fair say they’re cancelling this year’s event out of an abundance of caution over fears it could spread the coronavirus.

Executive Director Bob Bautista said he and the board of directors started planning months ago how they could try to make the fair safe for everyone.

“We had to sit there and say, ‘Let’s put on our virtual reality goggles, if you will, and walk through the fairgrounds – every department – and see what this looks like if you had to social distance, set up lines, have people stand six feet apart,'” Bautista said.

But, in the end, he couldn’t guarantee the roughly 250,000 people who attend the fair every year would follow these guidelines.

“The biggest thing that came about is you do all this and you set up everything right, but human behavior may come into play here and the people won’t adhere to that,” he said.

They’ll still hold events for 4-H and FFA kids. Exhibition halls that would normally show off pristine produce will give them much more room to space out the livestock auctions and competitions outside of the barnyard.

For people cooped up in quarantine who crocheted up a storm, hoping to win a ribbon? Bautista says to hold on to those items – they’re relaxing rules next year so folks can enter them into competitions.

The Canyon County Fair also cancelled most events earlier this week. The fate of the Eastern Idaho Fair is unclear, though. Organizers didn’t return a call seeking comment.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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