The lifeblood of a rural community is its volunteers.

And some good examples are members of the Jackson County Fair Board and staff who spend countless hours planning, preparing and executing perhaps the most looked-forward-to event of the year.

The members of the Jackson County Fair Board had to make a hard call last week to cancel the 2020 fair and postpone most events until next year. It’s a heartbreaking decision for the entire community, but one made out of caution for the health and wellness of fair employees, volunteers and attendees. 

When you sign up to be a member of a fair board, you aren’t signing up for a job in the public eye where your decisions come under such scrutiny as the ones this pandemic has brought upon us. You sign up for hard work, mostly behind the scenes, and because you understand the rich agricultural heritage of our community and the value of kids and adults alike participating in events that perpetuate that. You believe in the value of bringing a community together.  

The Jackson County Fair Board’s decision comes after the Iowa State Fair decided to cancel its event. Clinton and Dubuque counties and the city of Wyoming announced their fairs will move forward but will be abbreviated or have a different format this year. 

Other events made possible by volunteers and a small number of dedicated staff have been canceled in our community, from theater productions, concerts, parades, 4th of July celebrations and the much-loved Fireball in downtown Maquoketa.

Nothing in 2020 is typical, and it’s been painful as we watch much-loved traditions and opportunities to connect with friends, families and neighbors slip away. 

But as we said at the beginning of this pandemic, we will get through it together. We applaud the Jackson County Fair Board for making a hard decision, and we look forward to next year’s fair.