Clarion County Fair ‘Doesn’t Pick Political Sides’
ALCOLA, Pa. (EYT) – Josh Minich, President of the Clarion County Fair Association Board of Directors, wants to make a few things clear after a Thursday night post on social media that described the scene at a Demolition Derby with political overtones.
“We support agriculture and are a nonprofit that doesn’t pick sides,” Minich told exploreClarion.com on Friday, July 31. “Everyone’s opinion is their opinion, but we do not pick sides or politics as far as the actual association.
“The post claimed no one was wearing a mask, but that’s absolutely not true. Governor Wolf is the governor of our state, and it’s not my job to question his decisions nor to make a judgment on his decisions. My own opinion is just that, and this board is not politically aligned. No member of our board openly told anyone which presidential candidate to vote for in the fall election. We openly told no one to support one governor or another. As far as our grounds, the Republican committee did have a tent set up here.”
Minich also outlined efforts to meet COVID-19 precautions, including:
- Signs posted everywhere recommending people follow the CDC guidelines;
- All the tables spread six feet apart;
- Food vendors are wearing masks and inspected; and
- Added extra hand sanitizer stations all over the grounds.
“We spread everything under the sun that we could spread out. Our grandstands are harder to do, so we built two additional seating areas for social distancing. I can’t make someone physically move six feet away from someone else.
“I did speak at the beginning of the derby and told people they were in effect, protesting our loss of freedom, but we are supporting our police. I think our men and women in blue do a fabulous job, so we didn’t pick any political statement. It was that Clarion County supports Blue Lives Matter. That’s very important to us, and we have members of our board, some families that are police officers. Our Clarion County police force is a fabulous group of individuals.”
Minich said that the community consists of agricultural people who need the right to exhibit their rural agriculture. He added that there was no political rally held at the fair.
“We’re agricultural people, and we need the right to exhibit and live our lives. I never mentioned the president in my speech. By choosing to come out and support these kids and rural agriculture, in essence, you are protesting by your presence.
“It was not an anti-Government Wolf Rally, and we did not hold a Trump Rally. I don’t wear any Trump clothing, and we don’t have any Trump signs at the fair except for some vendors. As far as the Fair Board, we don’t take a political stand. We have friends on both sides of the fence, sponsors on both sides of the fence, and we are not politically affiliated.”
Minich explained the Fair Board said it is also an event for the children in the community.
“We cut down all of the show sizes so kids could stay six feet apart. For our buyers’ event, if you’re not a buyer, you must remain on the outside of the building so you can look and take part with video screens. We have 30 plus acres, and for dining, if you get in line for food, you can spread out how much distance you would like to eat and enjoy yourself. We’ve cut the event several days to make less of an impact but still allow the showmen and show-women to finish their projects. We’ve left it open in choice.”
Gary Sproul, a retired Redbank Valley School District teacher, writer of the original post, offered a clarification of what he wrote.
“By the way,” wrote Sproul, “The Clarion County Republicans had nothing to do with the way people came to the Fair or endorsed that. They had a tent just like every other group, and it was done safely. All the food vendors and game vendors wore masks, and it was very safe.
Sproul is listed as a Clarion County Republican Committeeperson for Clarion Township’s Second Precinct, according to the Clarion County GOP website.
Sproul continued, “The Clarion County Fair did a great job of running everything safely. People, as they entered the grounds, were encouraged to wear masks, but it was the people’s own choice if they did. People moving around the grounds did so very safely and were in their family groups. The Fair did a great job in honoring many groups of people and our country.
“It was a beautiful, great sight and enjoyed by all. Those who don’t think so were probably not there. The Fair was very respectful to our President and would have been to whoever was in office.”
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