A mural featuring farm animals and produce adorns a building at the Oxford County Fairground on Pottle Road in Oxford in 2019. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal file photo Buy this Photo

OXFORD — The board of directors for the Oxford Fair remains hopeful its annual agricultural fair in September will be held.

In a statement released Tuesday, the board said it will wait until early August to make a final determination.

“As we enter into the phases of reopening our state, we will continue to monitor the situation and state regulations. … If we are able to open this September, we acknowledge that the fair would need to have a completely different look.”

The fair is scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 16, through Saturday, Sept. 19.

“We’re waiting for word from the governor if she’ll open up everything,” Jackie Young, the group’s president, said.

The fair has worked with the Maine Association of Agricultural Fairs and the State Department of Agriculture on this issue for the past few months to develop a potential plan to open.

Several of Maine’s agricultural fairs, including Fryeburg, Windsor, Bangor, Cumberland and Topsham,  have already canceled their exhibitions.

Even if the fair gets canceled, Young said her group will assist 4-H members to auction off their beef animals. Those youngsters began raising their cows and steers last September and October, Young said. She expects 11 animals will be auctioned with or without the fair in operation.

“Our commitment to 4-H is part of our agricultural mission,” she said.

It is unclear if the fair will be able to bring in a well-known entertainer on Saturday as in previous years. Country artist Sawyer Brown entertained last year. Past musical acts have included Kenny Rogers, LeAnn Rimes, Charley Pride and The Marshall Tucker Band.

But with gatherings in Maine limited to 50 people, 6-foot social distancing still the norm and Oxford County’s low COVID-19 numbers, fair organizers remain hopeful things will change so they can host the annual event.

“The Board of Directors of the Oxford Fair hold the safety of our patrons, exhibitors, vendors, entertainers, and all others involved in our fair above all else,” according to the statement.

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