Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Bonner County Fair prep in-motion

Hagadone News Network | August 14, 2020 1:00 AM

SANDPOINT — For decades, Bonner County has celebrated its summer season with a community-wide fair and Bonner County Fairgrounds Director Darcey Smith said this year should be no different.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has reached North Idaho, Smith is optimistic about the health and safety protocol implemented for next week’s fair.

“It is a fair, so it’s kind of difficult, however, we have done as much as we can,” Smith said, between hanging last-minute decorations at the fairgrounds.

Since late spring Smith and her team leads have been in cooperation with emergency management and health care professionals to provide a fair that promotes safety for all participants.

This year, Bonner County Fair will have double the amount of handwashing stations, hand sanitizer for both indoor exhibits and outdoor activities, as well as an open-door policy for front and back entrances to increase air flow.

In addition, all booths will be spaced out and those in attendance will be encouraged to maintain social distance and wear masks.

Smith, who has been the fairgrounds director for three years, and a volunteer since 2010, still remembers her first experience with Bonner County Fair in 2009. Growing up in southern California, her local fairs drew large crowds — almost too large.

“It’s just a different atmosphere,” Smith said. “It’s hard to explain. Everyone’s nice, everyone’s polite, there’s not this huge rush and ‘go, go, go.’ It was a nice step back to the old-time country fair.”

Although Pre-Fair was canceled in May, an event put on at the fairgrounds to promote agricultural education with kids, Smith said she feels confident in the community’s safety for the Aug. 19 to Aug. 22 event.

Smith has received a little bit of pushback in past weeks for committing to holding the event, however, she offered those community members to speak with her in-person and learn more about the fair’s policies.

“It was hard for some people to say they could not help this year and I totally get that,” Smith said. “I don’t hold hard feelings for people who can’t come.”

Although Smith was down 15 to 20 volunteers this year, Smith felt this event was worth fighting for.

“There’s a lot of people that have their families of generations (living) in Bonner County and this place is very special to them,” Smith said.

Currently Smith has been putting up tents and will be prepping the fairgrounds for campers on Friday. Smith said Monday will be dedicated to setting up exhibits and Tuesday will be ready for the judging process to begin.

Bonner County Fair’s free events will take place next Wednesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the evening events begin around 6 p.m. and range in price.

Parking is $3 and all proceeds will be donated to students in Bonner County.

For more information on Bonner County Fair visit



Bonner County Fair Manager Darcey Smith enjoys one of the perks of the jobs — cuddling a two-week-old baby goat at the fair’s animal petting zoo — at a past fair.