Despite losses, city decides not to lower fee to use fairgrounds

Opening day of the Jefferson County Fair in 2017 at the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds in Watertown. Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — The folks who operate the Jefferson County Fair won’t be getting a lowered fee to use the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds when the six-day fair is held next month.

In a June 9 letter, Robert D. Simpson, president of the Jefferson County Agricultural Society, the organization that runs the fair, asked for a break on the $8,200 fee for the city-owned fairgrounds in light of the lost income caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The fair was canceled last year because of the pandemic.

Mr. Simpson also asked to delay the payment for the fee at least until the end of the week of the fair because electric, heat, water/sewer and other expenses depleted the fair’s cash reserves.

“We are very excited to hold this event given the situation of the past 15 months and having to cancel the 2020 fair,” he wrote.

City Council members on Monday decided against lowering the fee but will allow the fair folks to make the payment at the end of the week.

Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith pointed out that the state has lifted most of the restrictions for big events, so there is no need to think that attendance won’t be high for the fair.

“I think they could have a real good year,” he said.

The fair will be held between July 13 and 18.

Last month, council members agreed to lower the $3,200 fee to $2,500 for the Bravo Italiano Festival when those state guidelines for social distancing weren’t changed yet, the mayor said. The Italian festival will be held from Aug. 27 to 29.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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