Fair at New Boston to return in September

Organizers promise ‘bigger and better’ event after last year’s cancellation.

The future is looking good for an event celebrating the past. The Fair at New Boston will return to its usual Labor Day weekend slot in 2021.

The George Rogers Clark Heritage Association (GRCHA) announced the 39th annual Fair will be Sept. 4-5 at George Rogers Clark Park. Also returning will be the pre-Fair education day Sept. 3 that draws up to 1,600 students from schools all over the region.

“We’re excited to be bringing this back to the Springfield and Clark County community,” said Phil Campbell, president of the GRCHA. “We were all saddened to have to cancel in 2020, but we’ll be back bigger and better.”

As the fair is an outdoor event, Campbell and colleagues looked at ways to present it last year, but there was too much that would have kept it from being the authentic experience the Fair tries to provide for the 8,000 or so who annually attend.

“It would be hard to portray an 18th-century person in a mask. We have a great open area but it would’ve been hard to do social distancing and would’ve been a disservice to present it like that,” Campbell said.

The only thing that would prevent the fair this year would be new health orders from the governor or CDC, according to Campbell.

To meet health concerns, there will be several handwashing stations set up and attendees are welcome to socially distance as they see fit and follow whatever other state guidelines are in place.

The fair draws around 30 vendors, many of whom travel here from out of the area. They wanted needed a commitment because for some it’s how they make their living, and last year’s cancellation hurt.

The fair also brings in hundreds of historical reenactors who dress in period costumes and often speak in the dialects of the time, also drawing from multiple states. The event recreates a year from early Ohio life between 1790-1810.

This year will see the dawn of a new century as 1800 brings new dreams and challenges. Visitors can experience an authentic Native American village, battle recreations, demonstrations and food and goods of the time.

In June, the GRCHA got back to action with a new historical event, a French and Indian War reenactment. Campbell said it was positively-received and there will be similar events in future summers.

“The fair is our highlight of the year. We look forward to seeing everyone again in September,” he said.

For more information on the Fair at New Boston, check its official website or Facebook page.

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