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story.lead_photo.caption Residents enjoy themselves at the Moniteau County Fair on Aug. 5, 2019. Photo by Kevin Labotka / California Democrat.

The coronavirus pandemic may have slowed down other county fairs across the state, but that will not be the case in Moniteau County.

This year's Moniteau County Fair will take place as planned Aug. 3-8 at the Moniteau County Fairgrounds. The fair will kick off with the traditional parade, scheduled this year for Aug. 1.

Fair organizers said the decision to move forward with the fair was made after carefully considering what can be done to adhere to safety guidances that can still allow for members of the community to enjoy something of a sense of normalcy next month.

"After talking to the health department and some consideration of trying to be careful and trying to do what we can do to practice social distancing, we decided the community was ready to have the fair and kind of get back to a somewhat normal lifestyle," fair board president Travis Peck said.

For this year, the fair board has decided to make a number of changes to the week's agenda, both due to public interest and the ongoing pandemic. The board made the decision to cancel the Miss Moniteau County Scholarship Contest on Tuesday night due to a lack of interest, as well as Senior Citizen Day. The art hall open classes will also be canceled, making the bottom of Centennial Hall for 4-H and FFA projects and ham viewing. Finally, the All-Star Barnyard Revue will not be in attendance this year.

Fair board members ask the public continue to practice social distancing to keep everyone safe while enjoying their time at the fair. Some changes will be made to help facilitate social distancing. In Centennial Hall, projects and hams will be spaced out allowing safe viewing. Organizers will also be placing extra hand sanitizer dispensers in every bathroom and throughout the fairgrounds, such as near food vendors, to help people keep their hands clean.

This year's turnout may look different than the years before, but Peck said the board is understanding.

"If you feel comfortable coming, come. If you don't, there are no hard feelings — don't come, we understand," Peck said. "That's kind of been our motto the last couple months."

Things may continue to change as cases of COVID-19 arise in the county, Peck said. To stay up to date, check the Moniteau County Fair's Facebook page weekly.

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