Wyoming Fair offers family fun with limited fair

Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     The Wyoming Fair Association is ready to welcome visitors to the 86th Annual Wyoming Fair, July 11-12.

     Typically the fair takes place over a three-day period, but in an effort to reduce the spread of coronavirus, some events have been eliminated and scheduled for two days this year.

Saturday, July 11

     • 7 a.m. – Steer & Heifer Show registration

     • 10 a.m. – Team roping, calf roping, and break-away roping

     • 11 a.m. – 66th Annual Steer & Heifer Show

     • 6 p.m. – Truck and Tractor Pull, featuring four classes of East Central Iowa Tractor Pullers and over 20 local classes

Sunday, July 12

     • 9 a.m. – 86th Annual Horse Show (no gaming events this year)

     • 11 a.m. – Bucket/Bottle calf registration

     • Noon – Bucket/Bottle Calf Show

     There will be no Friday events, including the kick-off parade.

     Food and drink concessions will be served both Saturday and Sunday.

     Wyoming Fair Board member Guy Petersen said all events have moved outdoors this year, including the food vendors, in an effort to minimize the risk of being inside a confined space.

     “If you feel confident coming out to the fair, we’d love to have you!” said Petersen.

     In cancelling some of the kids games and events, Petersen said it lessens the person-to-person contact as well.

     Over a month ago, the Wyoming Fair announced they were cancelling this year’s festivities. Then, just a couple weeks before the fair was set to take place, many had a change of heart.

     “Some felt we made the decision sooner than we should have,” explained Petersen of the initial call to cancel. “When the first decision was made in mid-May, Iowa was re-opening. That wasn’t long enough to really know how re-opening would affect the overall health of the state.”

     Petersen said it was a slim vote to cancel at the time. When the association held their next meeting a month later, the idea was brought to the table again and passed by an overwhelming majority.

     “At that time, the state had been opened for seven weeks and things were going well,” said Petersen. “There was not near the concern to cut back our schedule.”

     The Wyoming Fair has adopted local Public Health and CDC guidelines, encouraging social distancing and offering hand sanitizer stations throughout the grounds.

     “There are a lot of things we can do to lessen the risk,” said Petersen. “It’s in everyone’s best interest to protect the safety, health and well being of our patrons, fair board members, and volunteers.”

     Above all, Petersen said the fair board chose to revisit the idea of holding a fair simply for the mental health of everyone.

     “This is an opportunity for people to get out of the house and have fun,” he said. “It’s very good in the long run for people’s mental health.

     “We felt strongly we could do a good job to mitigate the risk, changing our procedures and schedule, increasing cleaning and sanitizing, and give people an opportunity to go some place,” continued Petersen. “People want something to do.”

     Facemasks will not be mandated on the fairgrounds, but will be made available to Wyoming Fair board members and volunteers.

     “We cannot mandate it,” said Petersen. “It’s only a suggestion, like social distancing.”

     The Wyoming Fair Board asks that the public be personally responsible and stay home if you are not feeling well.

     While some 4-H livestock shows are still in the weekend schedule, the sheep/goat, rabbit, and poultry shows are on hold this year. Petersen said those shows require close person contact with showing and entering the ring.

     However, he said they wanted to offer some 4-H livestock events to give the youth an opportunity tom showcase their hard work.

     “They worked very diligently on their projects for money months,” Petersen said. “Now is the opportunity to show their livestock. Get the animals out of the barns and show them here, practice before the Jones County Fair.”

     The Wyoming Fair has always had a “show and go” style for youth coming to have their livestock judged. Petersen said that’s the beauty of their fair because people can come and go in one day.

     This year marks the 85th anniversary of the Wyoming Fair’s Horse Show.

     “That’s why our event (fair) was founded on,” said Petersen.

     The Horse Show started in 1935 during the Great Depression.

     It’s also the 66th anniversary of the Steer & Heifer Show.

     “Our 4-H and FFA calf show is one of our strengths,” praised Petersen.

     What sets Wyoming’s Bucket/Bottle Show apart from other fairs is the fact that it offers a peewee class, aid at kids who are not in 4-H yet.

     “It’s a crowd favorite,” said Petersen.

     The truck and tractor pull in Wyoming will be one of only three in Iowa this summer.

     “A lot of county fairs have cancelled their events,” noted Petersen. “So people are excited about this. It’s known all over the Midwest.”

     Shortly after the Wyoming Fair posted on Facebook that they were having their limited fair after all, Petersen said the post was “liked” by 22,000 people.

     “That’s an awful lot of support, and it bolstered confidence and maybe we made the right decision,” he said.

     For the full schedule of events, visit https://wyomingiafair.com/.


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