Teton County Fair Manager Rachel Grimes was born and raised in Jackson. Her dad was on the fair board, her mom was a 4-H leader and she was a 4-Her as well.
“The fairgrounds is kind of a second home for my family,” she said.
But this year Grimes will oversee a fair that’s a fraction of its usual size.
“We are going to have a fair,” she said, but “it is going to look a lot different than what the community has grown accustomed to over the years.”
The celebration of Teton County’s agricultural heritage will be significantly “scaled back,” the Fair Board announced Monday. The entertainment portions of the fair are cancelled.
The decision was made because of health threats in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Concern that the fair wouldn’t be able to generate enough money from attendees to defray the costs of events also played into the decision.
“The entire world is facing unprecedented economic challenges due to COVID-19, and that is no different here in Teton County,” Fair Board Chair Marybeth Hansen said in a news release. “Everyone across the table is having to make sacrifices and cut things back a bit.”
As a result there will be no kick-off concert, no pig wrestling, no Figure 8 races, no fair rodeo and no Jackson Hole Ninja Warrior. The tent where local musicians perform also got the can. Ditto paintless paintball and a new reptile exhibit.
But Grimes said she saw a “real opportunity” for the fair this year. 4-H programs will go on.
So will two other programs geared toward other members of the community looking to strut their equine and crafty stuff. The open class horse show — open to anyone “who enjoys horses and wants to show off their skills,” Grimes said — and the Blue Ribbon Exhibit Hall, where craftspeople can show their wares, will both happen.
Grimes said those three programs will showcase the fair’s essence: “animal husbandry and kids and their families and homemaking and crafting and growing things.
“That’s what it’s all about,” she said. “No bells and whistles. It’s foundational.”
Entries will open on July 1 with online registration available and encouraged.