Even with no spectators, fair food or special events, the 2020 McClain County Free Fair went on without a hitch.

That in itself is worthy of a record in the middle of a pandemic with so many other Oklahoma counties giving up and cancelling their fairs entirely.

Fair manager Johnny Roberts said Tuesday the annual exposition went “as well as expected or maybe better” than anticipated.

“We were very pleased,” Roberts said of fair officials. “Folks were happy we were able to hold a fair.”

This year’s fair drew more building exhibits than Roberts thought, even as livestock numbers nose dived.

He wasn’t surprised at fewer livestock entries.

That handwriting was already on the wall when officials cancelled the big  spring livestock expo in Oklahoma City.

Simply put, it became cost prohibitive for youths and their parents to invest in and feed an animal when odds were against them being able to show that animal.

Some 4-H and FFA members scaled back, exhibiting one head of livestock instead of three or four.

Others held off altogether on raising an animal.

If – and that is a big if at present – there is a big spring show in 2021, that will be a good indicator for what to expect at the county fair next year, Roberts said.

And if not, the McClain County fair board has a proven template for a county fair without spectators.

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