PASO ROBLES — California Mid-State Fair (CMSF) board members are “cautiously optimistic” the show will go on for a 2021 fair.
CMSF board members are developing two plans for this summer’s fair scheduled set for Jul. 21 – Aug. 1.
Either way, the fair will be celebrating its 75th Anniversary.
Tom Keffury, the CMSF spokesperson, explains the public’s safety is their top priority.
Plan A for CMSF is to have a fair, with all California’s safety measures in place. However, Plan A can only happen if the county moves into the yellow tier.
If San Luis Obispo County makes it to the Yellow Tier with enough time, the fair will go on with safety protocols in place. To be in the Yellow Tier, the county must have only one new COVID-19 case per 100,000 residents and have a less than two percent test positivity rate.
SLO County is currently in the Purple Tier and would have to pass the Red and Orange Tier before reaching Yellow.
Staff at CMSF have been looking at large-scale open venues like Disney World for methods of operating a COVID safe event with carnival and food vendors.
Food, carnival, and shopping vendors have already been contacted by CMSF staff. According to Keffury, vendors are almost unanimously in support of the fair.
Staff is discussing possibilities of small-scale, socially distanced, and safe music events instead of concerts.
“We have to do it safely, it is our priority, but if we can do that and we are allowed to do it, we want to do it because we feel there is a demand from the public and from our vendors who want to do it,” said Keffury.
If SLO County does not make it to the Yellow Tier in time, the fair will move forward with Plan B.
CMSF Plan B will look a lot like last year, with virtual livestock shows, sales, and shopping experiences.
“If we can’t, we absolutely are committed to supporting our youth AG kids and 4-H, FFA, and junior livestock program, so we will absolutely have a virtual show and sale again if we are forced to do it that way we will because we’re not going to leave the kids high and dry,” said Keffury.
As for drive having another drive-in experience, Keffury said it depends on sponsorships and other variables.
The annual Mid-State Fair accounts for 90 percent of Paso Robles Event Center’s revenue. Not having the 2020 fair meant millions of dollars of revenue lost for the event center and Paso Robles businesses, according to Keffury.
If the fair cannot operate as planned, Keffury says, “It’ll be devastating. It might be devastating beyond repair.”
While the event center has received numerous donations and some income from the county who is renting two buildings on the property for COVID vaccines and testing, the revenue will not sustain the event center in the long run.
“People want to get back and do it, they know they have to do it safely, they want to do it safely– we all feel strongly the general public is ready to get back if it can be done safely,” said Keffury.
The 75th Annual California Mid-State Fair is scheduled for Jul. 21 – Aug. 1.