The Halifax County Fair has been canceled this year.
Event organizers resumed plans for the fair in late July with COVID-19 related restrictions being lifted throughout Virginia, but liability issues related to COVID-19 put a halt to those plans.
Event organizers had tentatively planned to hold the fair Oct. 6-10.
“We were hoping we could pull it off with all the health guidelines and social distancing guidelines and closing the exhibit hall,” said Delegate James Edmunds, one of the fair’s organizers.
“But our insurance will not cover me in an instance that a person claims they caught COVID there (at the fair). They will not cover any issues involved with the pandemic and all the exposure will be on me personally.”
The scaled-back version of the fair would have been held entirely outdoors on the fairgrounds with the exhibit hall closed, following social distancing guidelines.
The fair still would have offered the traditional entertainment of bands, rides, vendors, a tractor pull and a largest pumpkin contest.
Fair organizers also planned to invite vendors who normally participate in the Halifax County Heritage and Antique Machinery Festival, which was canceled this year.
But those plans are on hold, until 2021.
“We’re hoping for a better year next year,” Edmunds commented.
Edmunds said he has had three lawsuits since he had been organizing the Halifax County Fair — everything from a horse bite to a broken leg — but his insurance has always covered the lawsuit, and facing personal liability for a person potentially contracting COVID-19 at the fair is too much of a risk to take.
He added a bill proposed by a Virginia senator would have offered immunity to businesses for lawsuits related to COVID-19, but the bill died.
Todd Moser, also an event organizer, said he would do everything in his power to make sure the Halifax County Fair happens next fall.
Moser said in late July when plans for the fair resumed after COVID-19-related restrictions were lifted in Virginia that he would like to make the fair happen to give everyone “a little bit of fun and give them a chance to feel a little back to normal.”
The fair is one of many major events in Halifax County that have been canceled or scaled back drastically this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Other events typically drawing crowds in the thousands that have been canceled include the Heritage Festival, typically held in May, and the Virginia Cantaloupe Festival, typically held in July.