County fair back in full force


Blanton Matthews

View of the county fair in Arkadelphia, Arkansas.

The previously annual Clark County Fair returned at full force last week on Wednesday, September 15 after events faced an unprecedented total cancellation in 2020 due to, of course, the ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, and ran until Saturday, September 18. The fair boasted a typical lineup of events and exhibits; art contests, commercial booths, livestock on display, rodeo, and classic carnival rides.

“It was great to have the fair back on this year and have such a tremendous turnout,” said fair organizer Jennifer Hawthorn.

The largely outdoor fair had little in the way of COVID safety protocols, nothing like mask requirements or vaccination mandates for volunteers, and considering the all-volunteer nature of the fair, it would probably have been difficult at best to enforce any such policies. However, organizers did place dispensers of hand sanitizer spread throughout the fair grounds and posted signs in windows offering definitions and advice based on CDC guidelines.

There may have been fewer carnival rides and attractions than in some years of recent past, such as the notable absence of the large fun house, some of the present rides looked to be newer models such as the ferris wheel with a programmed color-changing light arrangement that made for an impressive sight as far away as the back of the parking lot. There were also fewer commercial exhibitors as in times before the pandemic.

“The last year and a half have taken its toll on many small businesses,” said Hawthorn.

Still, Hawthorn described the turnout as having record-setting numbers for each night of the fair. It seems people were ready for some long-overdue fair play.