MALONE — Following a brief hiatus brought on by the novel coronavirus pandemic, an entertainment lineup has been released by the Franklin County Agricultural Society for the 2021 Franklin County Fair.
Although the pandemic is still ongoing, fair organizers have released a schedule for this coming August, which features country music entertainment, 1990s country and 1980s classic rock.
Platinum-selling artist Chris Janson will be performing hits such as “Good Vibes,” “Done,” “Buy Me A Boat,” “Drunk Girl” and “Fix A Drink.”
Sammy Kershaw, Aaron Tippin and Collin Raye will be bringing the 1990s country element to the fair, while 1980s rock and roll is set to be performed by Foreigner’s Lou Gramm, Journey’s former lead singer Steve Augeri and the band Asia featuring John Payne.
Franklin County Agricultural Society President Greg Patterson said at this time it is difficult to predict where things will stand in the pandemic, come the end of the summer.
“There may not be guidelines by August,” Patterson said. “We have all summer to figure out if we can or can’t have it ... We can’t wait until July to book entertainment. We have to anticipate that we’re having a fair.”
In regard to safety regulations, the fair would be going off entirely from regulations implemented by either the county or the state, Patterson said.
Tickets will go on sale March 1 at the Franklin County Fair’s Malone office, or online at frcofair.com. It’s scheduled to take place Aug. 6 through 15. While advance ticket sales begin March 1, physical tickets will be delivered from April onward.
Janson is scheduled to perform at 7 p.m. on Aug. 14. An 1980s rock night will be at 8 p.m. on Aug. 7, and a 1990s country night will be 7 p.m. Aug. 6.
The return of the Franklin County Fair comes after its 170th edition was canceled in May of last year.
The Agricultural Society Board of Directors came to an agreement at the time that the fair would not occur due to the region’s health concerns brought on by the pandemic.
The board had planned to make a formal announcement about the decision in June in order to notify vendors and performers, while also anticipating to serve refund advance ticket requests. But word that there would be no fair spread quickly.
The board arrived at the belief that an event of mass gathering like a fair would contribute to a COVID-19 spike throughout Franklin County and even across the state.
The Franklin County Fair each summer typically provides a bump in sales tax revenue, as well as revenue for businesses and nonprofit groups.
Franklin County on Monday was reported by officials to be under the 300 known active case mark, with 287 confirmed infections. This was driven by 11 new cases of COVID-19 and controlled by 16 recent recoveries. The county’s positivity rate as of Saturday is 4.76%. Its seven-day average is 4.65%.
The county at the start of last week was notified it would be receiving 100 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, which was marked to be administered to essential employees within the state’s Phase 1B. This includes public workers and teachers.
The county was equipped with 100 doses from the state last week after officials had requested 500 doses, County Manager Donna Kissane said at the time. In the week previous to last, the county received 200 doses. In the final full week of January, it received 100 doses.
Patterson said the fair would be able to accommodate sanitation stations and a mask rule. But social distancing and limited capacity would be a concern, if still required.
“We would have to cancel again,” he said, adding that the future of the fair would be in a dangerous spot if it is canceled a second consecutive season.
“That’s our revenue. It’s like every business in Malone,” Patterson said. “We have bills to pay every month. If we don’t have the revenue we have to close the doors.”