“We’re having a fair,” Rita Jane Haynes said holding back excitement in spite of new policies the 109th Annual Red River Valley Fair will adhere to next week.
As the Red River Valley Fair Executive Director, Rita Jane Haynes said the organization is set to adhere to new policies caused by COVID-19 “to keep people safe and put on a fair that we’ve done for more than 100 years.”
This year’s fair will see a decrease in commercial exhibitors, and those there will be in the coliseum as it has large open windows and large open doors. The coliseum will feature the pumpkin patch, along with the home and garden displays, the bee club and other different organizations.
“We will, of course, have our grounds entertainment,” she said.
The fair this year will still have the pig races, globe of death, Corn Pops the clown, ponies and pals, the petting zoo and much more. Two of the exhibit buildings will not be used to ensure fair-goers’ safety.
“Of course we’ll have food concessionaires,” she said. “We’ve got corndogs, funnels cakes and all the good things – the barbecue, the hamburgers and everything else.”
In regard to fairs past, Haynes said the organization has been “through a lot out here, but nothing like this.”
Need to know:
- $5 general admission for 7 years and older, free for 6 and younger (free admission from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday)
- $25 armbands on Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday-morning (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.), $30 on Friday and Saturday-evening (5 p.m. to 11 p.m.)
- *Saturday’s $25 armbands good only from 11 a.m to 4 p.m.
- Fair opens at 6 p.m. Wednesday to Friday, and at 5 p.m. on Saturday; closes at 11 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday, and 11:30 p.m.on Friday and Saturday
- Social distancing and masks recommend (but not required as it’s outside)
“One thing we’re doing different this year is on Saturday morning, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., we will have free gate admission for the community to try and help those who are struggling financially,” she said. “Without the five dollar gate admission, they can bring their families and see the exhibits and the grounds entertainment.”
The livestock show is another portion of the fair expected to be affected by the new policy the fair has in place because of COVID-19. Typically, the livestock show would be in one day. However, this year, the livestock show will be broken down into two separate days – Friday and Saturday – to try and cut down o the number of people inside the barns.
Sadly, this year’s fair will not feature country singer and local Paris favorite Gene Watson, who has made and appearance at the fair for more than 30 years. Haynes said she thinks there was only one other time he was missed the fair – scheduling issues.
“I love Gene,” Haynes said, “and he’s not coming to the fair this year. It’s definitely not because he honest want to. His agency canceled everyone they manage until at least the first of December.”
Haynes said Gene draws in a large crowd from Dallas, Oklahoma, and more, because “where else can you see Gene Watson for only a $5 gate admission?”
Other canceled fairs
Though other county’s had canceled their fairs, Haynes is hopeful people will come out and enjoy the Red River Valley Fair.
“I know a lot of people are afraid and they will not come out,” Haynes said. “But then again, a lot fo people are looking for some entertainment of some kind and they’ll come. You may have people from Clarksville, Bonham, Mt. Pleasant and elsewhere because all of their fairs were canceled. And they’re also going to come from those areas to show their livestock, because a lot of those livestock shows were canceled.”
With a chance of a significant jump in numbers, Haynes said there is still a chance less people will show to this year’s fair.
“It’s like the weather, you don’t know if it’s going to rain you out or what,” she said. “You wont’ know until Wednesday night, an you really won’t know until Friday and Saturday nights – our busiest nights of the fair.”
Fair Excitement Brewing/Traditions Continue
Haynes said she is most excited, “we’re going to get to have a fair.”
“Even though it’s been a lot of stress to get it together,” she said. “It’ll be worth it when it’s over – I hope so. I can hope and pray that we can pull out of the slump that we’ve been in financially.”
The fair starts Wednesday night at 6, and “we’d like everybody who wants to, to come.”
Molly Woodall, who has helped with the fair for several years, couldn’t hide her excitement that the Red River Valley Fair was a-go.
“I’m so excited that we’re having the fair because it is such a tradition with so many families,” Woodall said. “And it seems like the weather is going to be perfect. It’s just always so much fun to see everyone out and having a great time.”
Haynes said going to the fair for a lot of families is a tradition, and this year the Red River Valley Fair Association wants to help continue these traditions.
“We’re trying to do what we can to keep a tradition going for all these families,” she said. “And we’re doing everything we can to keep them safe.”
For a full list of scheduled events during the 2020 Red River Valley Fair, click here.
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