How postponing the Erie County Fair will affect vendors, events

Erie County Fair

HAMBURG, N.Y. (WIVB)–Most county fairs in Western New York have made the decision to call them off for 2020 because of the pandemic.

That includes one of the largest in the entire country, the Erie County Fair.

It’s always strange to see this place empty and it’s even weirder to know that it will be this empty in August.

Erie County Fair officials say they’re calling it a postponement mostly for contractual reasons. It gives vendors more flexibility to book the 181st Erie County Fair next August.

But the reason it won’t happen this year is simply uncertainty.

“We’ve had a tornado 20 days before the Fair. We’ve closed for World Wars. The difference between those things and this, is when that tornado was over we looked around and said Holy Cats, alright let’s go, it’s done. The problem is we don’t know when this is done. We can’t see it, we can’t feel it, we can’t touch it and we don’t know when it’s over,” Erie County Fair CEO Jessica Underberg said.

Weidner’s BBQ was still doing business today at Zittel’s Greenhouse, but the Fair would’ve been their biggest event if the year.

“I don’t blame them for canceling. It’s a hard thing to do but I think it’s the right thing to do. I’m just glad they let us know now so we have time to plan around it. You know, to plan other events like all small businesses try to make up the money that we’re losing,” Ryan Gerber of Weidner’s said.

But there is still a glimmer of hope at least for the 100 kids who raise show animals through 4H.

Underberg says, “we will make every step possible to try to have something here for the 4H kids to be able to show their animals but at a smaller, closed to the public, almost by invite only, we can manage that….but at a million people, you can’t.”

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