(Update: Adding video, comments from fair director)
REDMOND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Deschutes County Fair and Rodeo will be back this July after last summer's cancellation, but with slightly fewer animals.
Fair director Geoff Hinds said Wednesday they are making a few precautionary changes.
"So while we want to make sure we are providing fun and excitement and something to celebrate, we certainly want to do that in a safe and responsible way,” Hinds told NewsChannel 21.
The biggest change at the moment is the removal of the open class animal exhibits.
The open class exhibit is for people of any age, from any county, to present their livestock.
Hinds said they removed the open class to make room in the barns for people to social distance, while still allowing organized Deschutes County youth groups like 4H and FFA to show their animals.
"There are a lot of animals and a lot of people in those barns,” Hinds said. “This year, we'll have a lot of animals, but just a bit fewer than normal, and a little bit more space for everybody to spread out."
Hinds said there won't be any shortage of animals to check out and meet, along with their young exhibitors.
"Virtually every kind of animal that our fair attendees have come to love and see at the fair will be here," he said.
The fair will still have cattle, hogs, goats, sheep, rabbits and chickens in the barns.
Other changes include a reduced fair capacity of 25,000 per day, about half of a normal year's attendance.
Additionally, vendors, rides and seating will all follow current state social distancing and health guidelines.
Hinds said if any guidelines change between now and the fair, they will adjust accordingly.
The fair typically brings in around $34 million to the community.
Hinds said he knows this year's fair won't be as big, but he hopes people know that every decision is made for safety reasons.
"I would hope that everybody understands that the changes that we're making are in order to provide a safe and responsible event,” Hinds said.
Hinds said all concerts are planned to be held outside at the fair, to remain COVID-safe.
An official announcement about the concerts is due on Thursday.
The fair and rodeo is set for July 28 through August 1st.
Here's Wednesday's news release from the fair:
Deschutes County Fair & Rodeo Contest book and 4H & FFA Camping Applications now available
On the heels of the recent announcement that the 2021 Deschutes County fair & Rodeo will be happening, Fair officials are excited to announce that the 2021 Fair Contest Guidebook (Premium Book) is available in today’s Bulletin, online at www.DESCHUTESFAIR.com, and in select locations throughout the county.
Featuring 100’s of different contest categories, with the ability to win both cash and prizes, the Open Class competitions are one of the mainstays of the annual Deschutes County Fair. Open Class competition’s coordinator Rachel McIntosh remarked, “We missed the chance to see our friends and neighbors when the 2020 Fair could not be held, and look forward to seeing the best Deschutes County quilts, art, photography, baked goods and compete again in 2021.”
At the same time, those competing in 4-H and FFA livestock competitions will find a brand new camping application available on the Fair's website. With significant changes to camping in order to provide additional space to distance, the fair is also offering campers the ability to pre-register for space online. Said camping director Cary Penhollow, “the changes made this year will allow us to provide a safe environment for all of our 4-H and FFA exhibitors, and the space to spread out for an enjoyable fair experience."
In order to assure the safety of all guests and Central Oregon communities, the fair will be following all state and local health mandates regarding COVID-19. These adjustments included reduced capacities, including inside the South Sister Hall, where open class competitions are displayed. Fairgoers are encouraged to check the Deschutes County Fair & Rodeo website at www.DESCHUTESFAIR.com for the most up-to-date information.
Admission tickets for the 2021 fair will go on-sale July 5th and will be sold exclusively online, at www.DESCHUTESFAIR.com, with limited availability at the fair box office.
“We are truly grateful that we can once again invite our community to celebrate the largest event in Central Oregon,” said Fair & Expo Director Geoff Hinds. “From the team here are Deschutes County Fair & Rodeo, we can’t wait to see you July 28th – Aug 1st.