The show(s) will apparently go on … despite the risk.

Fair boards in Jackson and Clinton counties, as well as the board of the Wyoming Fair, have decided to take a big gamble – a gamble that the Iowa State Fair Board was not willing to take.

Despite expert medical advice and the example set by the state fair’s cancellation, local fair board members have decided to stage their annual events that will presumably bring together big crowds to enjoy food,  celebrate agriculture and listen to music.

What’s the payoff for this gamble? Some fun for our communities and the avoidance of financial losses for the fair associations that would have been guaranteed if the events had been cancelled.

The downside risk? The possibility that bringing thousands of people together from all over eastern Iowa could become a petri dish for COVID-19 infections. With that risk goes the additional possibility of overwhelmed hospitals, another lockdown of businesses and possibly deaths.

Here at your hometown newspaper we understand that fairs are a huge cultural event for our communities. Young people have devoted countless hours to 4-H activities – raising animals and working on other projects – that are a cornerstone of our agricultural community. Fairs are widely anticipated by all ages and are profoundly positive events. We understand why it’s hard to let go of them.

At the same time, we are nervous about how much risk the fairs will create. Maybe – hopefully – these events will go off without any negative ramifications. 

We hope that’s exactly what happens.

But, the possibility of bad outcomes also exists. There are reasons why experts have advised against events that put large numbers of people into close proximity of each other: The virus is highly contagious and some of the bad outcomes that are possible are horrific.

Our communities have suffered nothing more than a glancing blow from the global pandemic so far. We hope that luck holds.  To help our chances, we urge those who plan to attend the fairs to take it upon themselves to practice the safest behaviors possible. 

Remember, this virus is real, and no one is exempt.