COVID-19 takes over another annual event:The Laurel County Fair is canceled

This is the first time the fair has been canceled
Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 5:19 PM EDT
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(WYMT) -Another Eastern Kentucky staple, The Laurel County Fair, is canceled.

“Fairs and festivals are big here in eastern Kentucky and in the Appalachian mountains,” said Kyle Maggard, Executive Director of Operations at Appalachian Mountain Wrestling.

Maggard’s business has been in Hazard for the past four years. The outlet of festivals gave them a new outlet. “It is hard to get people into a hot building to watch professional wrestling. That is when everybody is out doing things and fairs and festivals is a big thing,” said Maggard.

“Wrestling actually started in the carnivals many years ago. So it is only natural that we went there to all the different fairs around. And Laurel County fair being one of our main fairs that we have done here.”

Finally having promotions that stretched across the mountains for a sustainable period of time. Branching out to schools, “We wanted to do a lot of work in the schools and help out a lot of sports teams.”

Since COVID-19, visits to schools were canceled and now the festival and fair follow suit.

“Not being able to do our fairs and festivals is a big thing,” Maggard said.

" Most of those events are paid for events so that means we get a lump sum of money upfront and we provide the wrestling matches.” Otherwise at places such as the Miller Family Fun Center, “Our revenue there is based off of ticket sales, you know how many people come through the door.”

Fair manager Jimmy Durham says planning a festival around coronavirus was just not feasible.

Spending between $50,000-$70,000 on entertainment alone would be a washout if no one showed.

“With all the restrictions in place and COVID still abundantly in the air we just could not take the hit financially,” said Durham. “Or another outbreak of the virus.”

Maggard is among those whose revenue will also be affected. “So with the fairs and festivals being a guaranteed sum of money and affects us widely. There are some families that save up most of their money all you’re waiting for the next year to go to that fair. So not having that is disappointing to a lot of fans that I’ve talked to.”

All of Eastern and Central Kentucky adjusting to the new norm.

“It is just a time that no one has ever really seen before, it’s just something that we are all trying to adapt to and make the best of it.”

Copyright 2020 Gray Media Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

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