Fair at New Boston canceled for 2020 amid coronavirus

The 38th annual Fair at New Boston has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to event organizers.

The Labor Day weekend tradition was scheduled for Sept. 5 and 6 at George Rogers Clark Park. Over the years, the Fair has faced rain, heat and cooler-than-normal temperatures, but COVID-19 was a different type of challenge.

“The decision was heart-wrenching,” said Phil Campbell, president of the George Rogers Clark Heritage Association, which sponsors the Fair. “We were all hoping this would turn out differently.”

The Fair at New Boston recreates early Ohio life from roughly 1790-1810, with 600 costumed participants portraying settlers, Native Americans, military members and others. Battles, demonstrations, food, vendors and an authentic recreation of a Native American village attract an estimated 8,000 guests annually.

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Campbell said the Fair at New Boston’s board held off on making the cancellation decision as long as it could, allowing for enough time to properly present it if the decision to go ahead was made.

“I’m somebody who hates to give up on things. We were hopeful early on that the rules would relax,” he said. “This has been an odd, odd time.”

The group consulted with the Clark County Combined Health District. Given rules on gatherings and proper social distancing, the board decided it couldn’t meet the requirements.

Campbell said most of the larger historical re-enactment festivals of this type have been canceled.

The cancellation also affects the many vendors, artisans and performers who come in from seven states, some of whom make their living doing such events over the warm-weather months.

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Another Fair tradition is an education day the Friday prior to the event, which sees up to 1,600 schoolchildren from across the area attending to learn and enjoy the atmosphere. Campbell hates losing that opportunity too.

The Fair board has talked about possibly doing Fair-related virtual events on its Facebook site in the future. There will also be banners added to billboards advertising this year’s Fair, encouraging people to visit in 2021.

“We’re one big family. We love entertaining the people and will miss everyone, but we’ll see you next year,” said Campbell.

For more information on the Fair at New Boston and future activities, check their Facebook or official site.

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