Aw, nuts. No Durham Fair this year. It’s okay. I understand.

I’ve had awesome success over the years at the Durham Fair in Durham, Connecticut.  In 2013, my splitfilm photo The AGFA Bridge Over Ansco Lake not only picked up a blue ribbon for first place, it won Best in Show in its category, my first-ever BOS award.  Over the years, I’ve claimed several blue silks from Durham, including silks for Washington County 2:30 a.m., After The Rain, and Jesus Saves; while photos such as Brokedown on Maggie’s Farm and Jessica: Instamatic Dichotomy have earned their only silks – bright blues – at Durham.

I knew COVID-19 was going to wreak havoc on Competition Season 2020, and although the New York State Fair’s opening is still iffy, I just received word yesterday that the Durham Fair will not operate in 2020.  This is only the fifth time in the past 100 years that the Connecticut-based fair will be shuttered.

Here’s a tweet confirming this.

And … here’s the full text.

To our community, volunteers, supporters and fairgoers,

During these very challenging times, we have been confronted with a life situation that was unexpected, historic and has affected all our lives. Our beloved Fair has endured for over a century through countless challenging situations and world situations. Only four times in our history has the Durham Fair been canceled. Three times for World War II (1942 – 1944) and once for the hurricane of 1938.

We are currently faced with a different type of natural disaster, a world pandemic. This pandemic has impacted all of us both on a personal and professional level and has changed the world we live in. Given these challenging and changing times, we have been faced with making a very difficult decision regarding our historic Fair.

Over the past several weeks, the decision to hold our 2020 Fair has been at the forefront of our discussions. Knowing that we are the largest country fair in the State of Connecticut as well as one of the state’s largest mass gathering events, has played a critical role in this decision. We have been consistently monitoring the progress of both Federal and State guidelines to determine its impact on our Fair.

We regard the health and safety of our volunteers, our exhibitors, our fairgoers and surrounding community as being the utmost importance in any decisions regarding our Fair.

Given the uncertainty of this deadly virus, the potential resurgence during the fall timeframe and the health, safety and logistical impacts of our volunteers, fairgoers and community, our Directors have voted decisively to cancel the 2020 Fair. This decision was reached as a result of a well vetted and comprehensive process. A heartfelt decision, we are committed to return to our traditions and agricultural roots stronger than ever in the fall of 2021.

We wish you the best of health during these challenging times and anxiously look forward to when we can all be together again. Be Safe and God Bless!

Daniel Miramant
President, Durham Agricultural Fair Association
May 14, 2020

I applaud the Durham Agricultural Fair Association on their decision.  It makes sense.  What good is a fair if we can’t control COVID-19 right now?

And trust me, even getting to the Fairgrounds is an adventure in social distancing.  The tiny parking lot next to the Fairgrounds is filled quickly, and people are shuttled in (on old school buses) from alternate lots.  And all it takes is one infected, asymptomatic person to go to the Fair and infect everybody.

By the way, don’t cry to me about how the Durham Fair’s shuttering for 2020 is going to violate your civil liberties.  We can all wait a year to find out who grew the biggest pumpkin.  And I can certainly wait until 2021 to enter my artworks.  And drink my annual Lime Rickey.  And walk up and down that sloped Fairgrounds like I’m climbing El Capitan.  And all the other fun stuff inherent thereto.

Trust me, we will all get through this.  We all must remain patient and understanding and supportive.

No matter what.

Hey, Durham Fair – I’ll certainly see you in 2021.  Take care of yourself.  We’re good.