CACHE COUNTY – Initial observations from the Cache County Fair and Rodeo are suggesting that the event was “a great success.”
County Executive Craig Buttars relayed that opinion to the members of the Cache County Council at an abbreviated meeting held Tuesday evening.
“We appreciate the residents who attended the fair and rodeo,” Buttars said. “We also appreciate our fair committee, especially our fair chairman Lane Parker and our rodeo chairman LaMont Poulsen for the great work that they did to make this event a success.”
A measure of that success was the revenue generated by the Future Farmers of America Junior Livestock Sale during the fair. Despite having 34 fewer animals in that event than in 2019, Buttars reported that the livestock sale generated nearly $100,000 more than the previous year, for a total of $517,000 that will fund ongoing FFA educational efforts.
“That funding wouldn’t be available if we hadn’t held the fair,” the county executive emphasized.
The county’s decision to go ahead with the fair and rodeo event had been controversial, coming in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that had forced the cancellation of nearly every other form of local public entertainment.
Council member Gina Worthen noted “that decision wasn’t made irresponsibly,” but rather after studying the health implications of similar outdoor events and consultations with the officials of the Bear River Health Department.
Buttars added that people attending the weekend event generally complied with the BRHD recommendations about mask wearing and social distancing.
“Many individuals were wearing masks at the rodeo and fair,” Butters explained, “although some were not … There was no conflict between citizens over that; everyone was doing their best to get along.”
County Sheriff Chad Jensen admitted to members of the council that he was initially dubious about the decision to hold the fair.
“I was a little bit skeptical about the whole thing,” Jensen confessed. “I was the naysayer who thought that no one would show up. But I’m happy to admit that I was wrong; I’ll take the hit for that one.
“The atmosphere at the fair was wonderful, even though we didn’t have the usual carnival,” the sheriff added. “Everything I saw was 100 percent positive. Families were obviously very happy for a chance to get out and about. In terms of law enforcement, I think we had two drunks, three lost parents and a couple missing wallets, which was an unusually light workload for us during an event like the fair.”
Council member David Erickson said that the high point of the weekend for him was a tribute offered to members of the armed forces and law enforcement personnel.
“That was really a very moving, special moment,” he recalled. “I’m just grateful that we were able to celebrate as a county all the things that make us who we are.”
“The fair is probably one of the few things that we all do consistently as families anymore,” council member Jon White agreed. “So it’s a good event.”
Council chair Karl Ward said he had received plenty of negative comments from local residents prior to the fair, including one E-Mail calling the planned event “a crazy COVID-19 party.”
But council member Paul Borup observed that medical experts have long held that “ … communities faced with epidemics or other adverse events respond best and with the least anxiety when the normal social functioning of the community is least disrupted.”
“I think the fair was a prime example of that,” Borup added. “What we saw at the fair was a society functioning normally again.”