The Polk County Fair would have started Wednesday, July 8, and have lasted until Sunday, July 12, but due to COVID-19, the Polk County Fair was canceled in an announcement on May 5.

While the fair can’t go on, the fair board wants to give the county at least a taste of the annual event. The Polk County Fairgrounds in Fertile is hosting a Taste of the Fair event on Friday and Saturday, with numerous food vendors on-site and a fireworks show on Saturday night. A DJ will also play music on both Friday and Saturday, starting at 5 p.m. 

Michael Moore, the board’s secretary-manager, said some antique tractors and classic cars will also be on hand. “This isn’t a contest,” Moore said. “Nothing will be judged. This is kind of just a citizen event. If you have an old car (or tractor) you want to bring into the fairgrounds and have people take a look at it, you’re certainly welcome to do that.”

The food vendors will be open from 11:30 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Friday and again from 11:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. Saturday. The fireworks show is set to start at 10:30 p.m. Saturday night. To ensure that social distancing is observed, the grandstand at the fairgrounds will be off-limits. “You’re either going to be in your car someplace or on the grounds, and hopefully people maintain some distance,” Moore said. “That’s the desire. We’re not anticipating a large crowd, but certainly, there’ll be some people there. We’ll also have some music in relation to the fireworks themselves. So, it should be a nice evening. Hopefully.”

While there is a chance for some showers and storms during the day Saturday, the latest forecast calls for clear conditions Saturday night with lows around 60.

Moore said the decision to have some sort of celebration this weekend in place of the fair was made just over a week after the cancellation was announced in May. This is the first time in its 117-year history that the Polk County Fair has been called off, but Moore is hopeful that this weekend’s event provides people an opportunity to still enjoy some summer fun.  “It’s a small celebration,” Moore said. “Just try to do something during fair week to remind people, or to give them a little break. That’s really the idea of it.”