If any local event would mark a real return to normal, that would be the Clark County Fair, held every early August.
“I am so hopeful for it,” said fair manager and CEO John Morrison. “We are planning on it and moving in that direction. I am spending all day every day at my desk at home, making all the same arrangements I would be making if I was there at the office.”
If local health and state government authorities permit large gatherings by August, Morrison said, “We’ll be ready to do it.”
A firm decision should come after May 4, which is when Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s current stay-at-home order is set to expire.
“Obviously, data and crowd size limitations will drive the decision,” Morrison said.
The Clark County Fair recently posted statements on its website and social media refuting a rumor that its 152nd event, set this year for Aug. 7-16, had been canceled. Somebody must have Googled “Clark County Fair” and seen news about a cancellation, Morrison said — but said the Googler didn’t read far enough to realize that news was about Clark County, Nevada, not Clark County, Wash.
The rumor “spread like wildfire within an hour,” Morrison said. “That’s why we said, let’s get that squashed — but without committing one way or another.
“We have not canceled anything, but we will follow the guidance of the county health department and the state. If they allow us to have a fair, we’re planning to do that.”
The coronavirus outbreak has only set back planning a little bit, Morrison added. While he’s not certain about every small-business food vendor, the usual exhibitors, entertainers and carnival remain available, he said.
“I’ve had no indications at all from anybody saying, ‘Don’t count on me being there,’” he said. “I don’t feel so far behind in planning efforts that we couldn’t still put on a first-class event.”
Morrison had retired from a 28-year career in the U.S. Air Force when he became a Clark County Fair volunteer, then took over in 2009 as manager and CEO. He retired after the 2018 fair, but returned again after his replacement only lasted through the 2019 fair season.
“I’m more than happy to help. The fair has been so good to me,” he said.