2021 Cass County Fair to take place Aug. 1-7

CASSOPOLIS — After having to cancel in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one of Cass County’s most beloved annual events is back on — for now.

Earlier this month, the Cass County Fair posted on its social media that its 2021 fair would take place Aug. 1-7.

“I don’t think there was ever a thought that we would have to cancel in 2021,” said Board President Brian Kuemin. “I don’t think we made a conscious decision to host the fair this year — that was just what was understood would happen. Until the state or health officials tell us we can’t do it, we are planning on having a fair.”

The 2020 fair was canceled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Though organizers were able to host a “show and go” event for area 4-H participants, and drive-thru fair food events were hosted over the summer, Kuemin said forgoing a traditional fair last year was difficult — both personally and as a representative of the Cass County Fair Board.

“[The year 2020] was something we struggled with because the fair is such a community event,” he said. “It’s one of those events that draws people from across the county together for one week. There are people I only see during the fair, and we lost that. Certainly, we lost the opportunity for some kids to market and exhibit their projects last year. On a financial level, it was difficult because the grounds still need upkeep. We still have to maintain buildings and repair water lines and upgrade electric. Without having fairs and other events, it makes the budget harder.”

According to Kuemin, planning for the 2021 event is well underway, with many plans stemming from the incomplete 2020 fair.

“We usually start planning as soon as the last event is over,” Kuemin said. “Though we did not have a full fair last year, we were still looking forward to the next year. This year, on some levels, we were planning for a fair that we didn’t have, so a lot of those things will roll over into 2021.”

Even though the fair is coming back, it may still look different than the event beloved to many Cass County residents. Kuemin said the fair would take all necessary COVID-19 precautions, such as encouraging social distancing, mask-wearing and hand washing. The fair board is also looking at creating designated eating areas and other measures to promote social distancing and limit the potential spread of COVID-19.

“With numbers changing on a regular basis, it’s hard to know exactly what we will have to do,” Kuemin said. “I definitely think there are some things we will have to do, but I think we will make the best of it.”

Though the fair is still months away, Kuemin said his excitement is growing by the day — and he is seeing the community react in the same way. The Facebook post announcing the 2021 fair received more than 400 shares, and Kuemin said he had received many messages of support from Cass County residents.

“We are really looking forward to getting the community back together,” he said. “The community has been so supportive. I think everyone is looking to get back to normal and have a normal fair — or at least as near to normal as we can get.”

For more information or fair updates, visit mycasscountyfair.com.

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