COVID-19 virus forces cancellation of the Malheur County Fair

Vendors at the Malheur County Fair in 2019. This year’s fair has been canceled. (The Enterprise/File).

NOTE: The Enterprise is providing free access to its content related to the coronavirus as a community service. Subscriptions at $5 a month help the Enterprise keep this up.

VALE – The Malheur County Fair Board voted Monday night to cancel the annual August event.

“Nothing is going to happen at the fairground this year,” said Lynelle Christiani, fairgrounds manager.

A local staple for 111 years, the fair was held during World War I, the dark days of World War II and after other national emergencies.

The decision, said Christiani, centered on dollars and cents and Gov. Kate Brown’s plan to reopen the state.

“We can’t afford to do anything,” said Christiani. “I spent the last week trying to figure out loopholes and I couldn’t find any.”

The governor announced May 7 a broad outline to reopen the state that included a prohibition on gatherings of 25 or more people. The governor said last week that fairs and festivals should be canceled through September.

“We have to hold every penny we have so we can have the fair next year,” said Christiani.

This story will be updated.