Kern County Fair 2019
Concession booths at the Kern County Fair

It is official: the 2020 Kern County Fair is cancelled. The virtual board meeting took place tonight over Zoom where board members were able to review monthly items and be available for any public comment or questions.This conclusion, however unfortunate, seemed the likely option since the county is only in Phase 2 of Governor Newsom’s Phase IV plan to end the stay-at-home order that was issued on March 19th. The Kern County Fair board made the challenging decision so many large-venue operations are making to ensure safety for all participants. For example, the Rose Parade held in Pasadena each year on New Year’s Day since 1891 recently announced the cancellation for 2021. Apart from three years during WWII, this is the first time the event has been cancelled.Mike Olcott communicated with the Kern County Health Department on whether the fair could go forward as normal based on the county’s numbers. It was evident this would not be possible. Vice-Chairman Ned Dunphy stated how many, if not all, counties in California will not be able to proceed to Phase IV from the looks of the various counties going back on the watchlist. The whole board commented on their regret to make this decision, but as stated by Dunphy “it’s better to pull the band-aid now rather than kicking the item out later to make the decision.” The board will be reviewing other revenue ideas for 2020 and 2021 in hopes for a strong comeback next year. In the words of board member NaTesha Johnson, “We’ll come back bigger, better, and stronger […] let’s continue to be safe and strong.” Chairwoman Blodgie Rodriguez gave a heartfelt thanks to all who have gone through this process with them, especially to the kids who will be continuing their livestock show virtually. She ended the meeting thanking staff and the board for all the difficult work they have put in stating, “It’s an honor to serve.”