Wilson County Fair scales down festivities, adopts social distancing

This year will focus on agriculture and livestock shows
Posted at 6:08 PM, Aug 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-14 19:43:40-04

WILSON COUNTY, Tenn. (WTVF) — Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wilson County fair is still happening, but some fan favorites are out of the question. All of the carnival rides had to be eliminated and the food is scaled down.

However, if you love animals, it will be the place to be.

Normally, the Wilson County Fair would just be another pit stop during a busy summer for 11-year-old Kat Branscum. Not this year.

"Normally we would go to four to five shows and this will be the second one this year," said Neal Branscum, Kat's father.

Wilson County is one of the few fairs in the nation that will continue with livestock shows. "We want it to be safe, that’s our number one priority," said Randall Clemons, Wilson County Fair's President.

In a way, this stripped down version of the fair is like a journey back in time. "Before we started the fair, it actually started on the Lebanon Square as a cattle event so that’s where our roots go back to," said Clemons.

But to do so, everything from the layout to the cleaning process will be different. Wilson County Fair organizers have made certain walkways one way only and have placed X's on the ground where lines may form. They've also placed hand washing stations throughout the complex.

"We’ve got hand sanitizer around everywhere," said Helen McPeak, the fair's Executive Director. "Who would have ever thought we’d be living in a time like this?"

While so much is different, some comfort foods will still be available, just on a smaller scale. Normally the fair hires 92 food vendors. This year, it will only be six vendors. The lucky few feel like they've won the lottery.

So do Kat and her family. "We really appreciate everything that’s been done because I guarantee you, there’s a lot of thankless jobs behind the scenes to pull an event like this together,"said Kat's father.

For them, Wilson County is no pit stop. It's a dream come true. "I just think it’s a fun hobby," said Kat.

Click here for the Wilson County Fair's full schedule of events.