De Pere City Council to decide fate of Brown County Fair

The council will vote Tuesday on whether to exempt the fair from the city’s phased reopening plan.
Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 9:39 PM CDT
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DE PERE, Wis. (WBAY) - The fate of this year’s Brown County Fair lies in the hands of the De Pere City Council.

“We’re trying to have it as normal as possible during these times,” said Steve Corrigan, president of the Brown County Fair Association.

The council will vote Tuesday on whether to exempt the fair from the city’s phased reopening plan.

“We’re following DHS and CDC recommendations to limit gatherings to less than 50,” said De Pere Mayor James Boyd.

As of this report, 5 of the 15 county fairs in northeast Wisconsin are still going on as planned.

Corrigan is working with vendors who are also waiting to see if the council will approve the fair.

If not, fairs in Shawano and Marinette counties could also be in jeopardy.

“If we get down to just a few events, it don’t justify licensing, paying all the permits and their insurance that they need to run,” said Corrigan.

The Brown County Fair will also give a number of kids the opportunity to show off their agriculture projects they haven’t been able to show due to other cancellations.

“We always had a rule that you can show in Brown County. We’re considered an open county,” said Corrigan. “If we cancel, their animals, their livestock, are going to get too old. A lot of the other fairs are not open county fairs that are going to be after us. It’s disheartening to all the youth and everything that we try to support.”

Corrigan says nonprofits would also lose out on upwards of $60,000.

“We think it would be irresponsible as a city staff, a health department and a city to give a blessing to an event when things are as bad as they are right now and anticipate they won’t get much better later on,” said Mayor Boyd.

Corrigan says proper sanitation and social distancing practices will be in place. The fair board even went as far as hiring a cleaning company to clean the bathrooms and wipe down picnic areas throughout each day of the fair.

However, Mayor Boyd says the risks of spreading the virus outweigh the rewards.

“Whether you go and you don’t mask up or you don’t take safety precautions or you think it’s your right to go, there is still a chance that you could bring that to somebody else,” said Boyd.

“We’re not criticizing anyone who does not want to come with the situation with the health concern, but we want to give everyone and their family the choice,” said Corrigan.

The De Pere City Council will meet on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

Fairs going on as planned:

  • Fond du Lac County Fair: July 16-19
  • Outagamie County Fair (Motorsports Only): July 24-26
  • Marinette County Fair: August 27-30
  • Waupaca County Fair: August 27-30
  • Shawano County Fair: September 2-7

Virtual Fairs:

  • Menominee County Fair
  • Winnebago County Fair

Canceled Fairs:

  • Manitowoc County Fair
  • Door County Fair
  • Kewaunee County Fair
  • Oconto County Fair
  • Calumet County Fair
  • Waushara County Fair
  • Green Lake County Fair

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