CLEARFIELD – The 160th Clearfield County Fair, scheduled for Aug. 2-8, has been cancelled due to COVID-19-related concerns.
The announcement was made by the Fair & Park Board on Friday morning, which issued the following statement to local news media.
“Unfortunately, [we have] some disappointing news …. the fair has been cancelled due to health and safety concerns from the current COVID-19 pandemic.
“Per Gov. Tom Wolf’s order and the Pennsylvania Department of Health directives, there is a limit on the number of people allowed in mass gatherings.
“While Clearfield County is in the green phase, we still cannot have more than 250 individuals in the park. We have waited as long as possible to see if this order will be amended or lifted.
“Unfortunately, as of today, it has not and does not appear that changes will be made in the near future. This makes it impossible to produce and prepare the fair, as scheduled.
“With the uncertainty of our carnival company and after talking with our insurance provider, we feel this is the best decision for the health and safety of the general public.
“Please continue to watch for announcements, as we plan some small events throughout the rest of the year.”
The fair dates back more than 160 years to 1852. Originally called the Clearfield County Fair and Industrial Exhibition, it began with the organization of the Clearfield Agricultural Society.
In 1860, Clearfield and Curwensville held a contest to determine the fair’s host site. Clearfield won and was established as the site, except for in 1895 and 1896, when Grampian was used so that the fair could host harness racing.
In 1870, the Clearfield Driving Park became the permanent fairgrounds; however, the fair was held irregularly in the early 1900’s. Even still by 1925, there were two buildings on the grounds, the grandstand and the exposition hall.
In the 1930’s, there was a roller coaster ride of highs and lows after the crash of the stock market caused the suspension of the 1935 fair.
The Clearfield Volunteer Fire Department took over the fair’s management in 1938, making it a week-long event and organizing the first-ever fireman’s parade.
The James E. Strates Shows made its first appearance in 1937, and became a fair staple on the Midway for decades.
The fair wasn’t held in 1944 and 1945 because of World War II, and in the late 1970’s, the fair board took over the management of the fairgrounds and its buildings.
Each year, the fair has been a draw for young and old alike from surrounding areas and around the state for its various contests and exhibits, sights and sounds and entertainment. It typically draws 100,000 to 120,000 visitors, making it the fourth- or fifth-largest fair in Pennsylvania.