Right now, the plan is for the Western Montana Fair to happen. I know, you might have to read that again just to make sure you saw that right. It wasn't a mistake. It seems that everything else scheduled for the summer has been postponed or cancelled. But, even with the future unknown because of COVID-19, organizers say there will be a fair when August rolls around.

I'm a huge fan of fairs! I grew up near Seattle and the Puyallup Fair, now the Washington State Fair, always ranked in the top ten biggest fairs in the country. As a kid I loved the yearly trip to the fair for food, rides, exhibits, animals and all it had to offer. They used to give out one free ticket per student when we were in grade school and I remember always being pumped to get it. I still try to plan a visit home during the 21 days that the fair runs so I can get my fill of food and fun.

Photo: TSM
Photo: TSM

I just missed the Western Montana Fair when I moved to town in late August of 2018. So last year was my first year to experience it. Just my luck, the weather wasn't expected to cooperate the day we planned to go but we tried to beat the odds. And right on cue, after barely being there 30 minutes, it started to pour rain and the winds were gusting. We took cover in the cow barn for a while before making a run for the exits. So, my first trip to the fair didn't really go as planned. I was hoping this year would be better, and with my five-year-old in tow, we would be able to make a day out of it.

It sounds like the Western Montana Fair we'll see this year will be a fair in simpler terms. We probably won't be able to have the typical crowds - and the fair isn't really a great example of social distancing. Because of those things, elements like the carnival and rodeo could be cancelled, but aren't as of now. Decisions may not be made until mid-June or so, according to this Missoulian article. The piece also has some statements from fair officials about concerns for this year's event and how it breaks down economically.

Will there be concessions, rides, exhibits, entertainment? It's all up in the air and remains to be seen. Right now, the fair is scheduled August 5th-9th. We'll let you know if plans change concerning the dates or attractions.

If you have any thoughts or concerns about the Western Montana Fair - you're invited to email your feedback to fairgrounds@missoulacounty.us.

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