No matter what else has been going on in the world, the Rogers County Fair has brought people from near and far to Claremore to enjoy the experiences of a traditional county fair for more than 100 years.
This year proves no exception, as the fair board, organizers and planners are working together to bring the traditional fair back to Rogers County this September.
Among those overseeing plans for the fair to return for its 107th year are Visit Claremore Director Tanya Andrews and Susan Gebhart, Vice President, Rogers County Fair Board, both of whom are keenly mindful of the need for additional safety precautions due to COVID concerns.
“The (Rogers County) Fair Board is very diligent about the health of the public, and last year, our city leaders moved quickly to mitigate COVID, and we held the fair with several safety measures in place to protect the public,” Andrews said.
Rogers County Fair Board Vice President Susan Gebhart
“The safety protocols we used last year will be reinforced this year,” Gebhart began. “The only real difference (this year) will be masks because last year, they were required by the city, and this year, they’re not. In addition to that, last year, we operated on the premise that everything was outdoors, with the exception of the inside exhibits, and outdoor exhibits – over the last year – have been generally recognized as more safe.
“As such, this year, there will be more focus on things being outdoors in the fresh air, with the games, vendors and rides, and we’ve left the sides of the tent off for the music so there will be more fresh air coming through there,” she continued. “There will be hand-washing stations and hand sanitizing stations distributed throughout the fair, indoors and out, and for the barn activities, we’re using the same measures we did last year, to prevent people from getting crowded in tight groups, so we’ve gone to an online entry process for all the livestock species, so that avoids the kids standing in line. We’ve changed the way the kids prepare and show their animals in the show ring.”
Last year, Gebhart said, there were considerably fewer indoor activities, curtailed due to the then-COVID situation, but this year, there will be more to see inside the Expo Center.
“This year, they’re going back to a full show, which is great – we’re happy that that’s happening,” she said. “Of course, people can choose to wear masks if they come inside if they want to, they can choose not to – it’s kind of like allowing fair-goers to dial in their own level of comfort and safety, and safety precautions.”
Gebhart said indoor activities at this year’s fair will be “well-spaced” to allow for the option of social distancing.
Visit Claremore Director Tanya Andrews
But sanitation stations and other COVID-measures aside, the 2021 Rogers County Fair promises to bring back everything that one would come to expect from a county fair: livestock shows, carnival rides and food, live entertainment and much more.
“This will largely be our traditional county fair, of course with the exception of several indoor activities being moved outside,” Gebhart said. “We did that and several other things – such as ‘uncrowding’ the livestock barn – last year, and people actually preferred it, and asked us if we would keep doing so, even if COVID wasn’t an issue.”
Gebhart and Andrews noted that contingency plans are currently in place should the COVID situation change and different or additional safety measures be deemed necessary.
“We’re prepared to react very quickly to ensure we’re doing what’s required for people’s protection, should things change between now and fair time,” Gebhart said.
As is often said, the Rogers County Fair is where tradition meets tomorrow, and this year proves no exception.
“We have all the sights, sounds, smells and tastes people remember from a county fair, and unlike a state fair, there’s no admission to get in, there’s no charge for parking, and because everything is spread out in front of the (Claremore) Expo, it’s very easy for people to navigate – it has a small footprint,” Gebhart said. “Because of the size and type of the fair, with the vendors, we sought several different ones, with minimal duplication. You’ll find a great variety among the items offered, with a good representation of items made in Rogers county or made in Oklahoma, as well as other places. The same rule applies with our food vendors – we kept in mind that we wanted variety, for a minimum of duplication, everything from traditional fair food to food trucks offering restaurant-type food.”
So, whether it’s your first or 50th fair, there’s something for everyone this year at the Rogers County Fair in Claremore.
The 107th Rogers County Fair will run Sept. 16-19, kicking off Thursday, Sept. 16 on the grounds of the Claremore Expo Center at 400 Veterans Parkway.
Live entertainment will be provided opening night with a concert at 6 p.m. by the Tulsa-based roots-rock group, the HiFi Hillbillies. To commemorate opening night, a fireworks display is scheduled for that evening at dusk.
On Thursday, Friday and Saturday, the County Square Market opens at 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. each day, and the carnival runs 6-10 p.m. Thursday and Friday. On Saturday, the carnival has a matinee at 1 p.m. until 5 p.m. and then the evening session is from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. On Sunday, only the carnival will be running from 1-6 p.m. The final event of the Fair is the Rogers County Premium Auction held on Monday, September 20 at 7:00pm at the Claremore Expo.
For more information or details on this year’s Rogers County Fair, visit online at https://rogerscountyfair.com/
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