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Brown County Fair goes back to drawing board after De Pere City Council vote

The Brown County Fair Board plans to meet to review its plans.
City leaders are urging fair organizers to hold off until next year due to the pandemic.
City leaders are urging fair organizers to hold off until next year due to the pandemic.(WBAY)
Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 11:43 PM CDT
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DE PERE, Wis. (WBAY) - On a five to three vote, the De Pere City Council decided Tuesday the Brown County Fair will need to follow the city’s phased reopening plans if it wants to use the city owned portion of the fair grounds.

Action 2 News reported Monday, the city is following DHS and CDC recommendations to limit gatherings to less than 50 people in city parks.

Two-thirds of the fair grounds are owned by the county and one-third is owned by the city.

Fair officials asked to use the city’s portion of the land for parking, which they have done every year.

After Tuesday night’s vote, the fair can still use the city’s portion for parking, but need to limit the number of people gathering in that space to 50 people or less.

City staff are against the exemption saying we’re are still under a pandemic and want to limit transmission of the virus.

“I don’t see an exemption health wise that it’s a good idea, because of the inevitable congregating and the amount of people that are exposed to each other. There’s a lot of asymptomatic cases, so that’s why public health is concerned,” said De Pere Health Director, Debbie Armbruster.

Some councilors say it should be up to people to decide if they would like to attend the fair and were in favor of granting the exemption.

“I’m definitely in favor of opening up the fair, I think the board and the fair staff are going to do what they can to hold and demand that everyone is responsible, so I do appreciate the efforts that they’re putting into this,” said Alder Dean Raasch.

Some Alders brought up other entertainment and sports venues that are now open including Bay Beach, the NEW Zoo, and the Green Bay Booyah.

“These events are happening around us and I think it’s a matter of time that we need to accept and live our lives and figure out a way to do that in the midst of this pandemic,” said Alder Kelly Ruh.

“There’s a reason all of these other counties, and the state, have decided not to hold their fairs, and I think that’s the right decision,” said Alder Casey Nelson.

President of the Brown County Fair Association, Steve Corrigan, told Action 2 News the fair board will need to meet to review its plans.

The fair is set for August 19-23.

This story has been updated to correct that the Brown County Fair will be able to use the city’s portion of the fair grounds for parking.

Fairs going on as planned in northeast Wisconsin:

  • 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:

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  • Menominee County Fair
  • Winnebago County Fair

Canceled Fairs in northeast Wisconsin:

  • 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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