IMLAY CITY — Because of continuing COVID-19 concerns and restrictions, the 2020 Eastern Michigan State Fair is being pared down to a per-day, youth exhibitor-only “Show & Go Showcase.”

As a result, the 2020 Fair will not include the traditional carnival and rides, grandstand events, livestock auction or traditional fair cuisine.

Fair Manager Ian Kempf reported that Fair Board members voted unanimously on Tuesday, June 30, to adopt the scaled-back format for this year’s event, which had been scheduled to take place at the fairgrounds in Imlay City from July 29-Aug. 1.

Kempf said the new format follows “Phase 2” guidelines Lapeer County is under as set forth by State of Michigan’s Safe Start, and the Governor’s latest Executive Orders.

The following is the Eastern Michigan State Fair’s mission statement, which states: “It is our responsibility to keep our youth foremost in our practices and decisions.”

As such, Kempf said the Board was committed to offering youth exhibitors an opportunity to be seen by a judge with their animals.

“Each species of animals shown at the fair will have a revised schedule and a one-day show during the originally scheduled fair dates (July 28-August 1) to allow youth to participate,” Kempf said.

“Exhibitors will keep their animals in their trailers until it is their time to show. After showing, exhibitors will depart with their animal projects.”

Kempf said the number of in-person supporters and spectators will be “extremely limited,” and exhibitors will be sent specific information about their shows via email in July.

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.