Amidst pandemic, organizers plan to open the Pontotoc County Free Fair as planned, according to Fair Director Shelley Scifres.

“The Fair is one week earlier than usual because it is a leap year,” Scifres said. “We’re not on the Labor Day weekend like we usually are. It’s Aug. 26-29.”

New for 2020, an antique tractor show will join the typical attractions.

Scifres said the tractor show — sponsored by Hisle Brothers, Inc. — will include awards for best restoration, most unique, original/barn find and ugliest tractor. The show will be in the outdoor arena.

Featured artist Ann Ayres of Bridgeport, Texas, is scheduled to show her bronze sculptures. Ayres’ art re-creates famous moments in history as three-dimensional art. The grit of the cowgirls from the 1900s is her favorite subject. The cowgirl’s determination and drive from those days provide a level of detail and perfection Ayres strives to achieve in each sculpture.  

Scifres said fair staff are prepared to take precautions due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, including the use of face masks and implementing appropriate social distancing measures.

“We are going to have face masks available,” Scifres  said. “The carnival people contacted us and said their workers would be wearing face masks. And also, they have sanitation stations, as are we as the Fair. We’re going to spread everybody out. The booths won’t be as tight, so it won’t look like as many vendors there this year, but we’re going to spread them out more than usual.”

Scifres said fair organizers are planning on having live music again this year.

“We’re only going to have concerts on Friday and Saturday this year,” Scifres said.

Some of the Free Fair’s contests will also move from indoor areas to outdoor stages.

“The talent search will be moved to the outdoor stage, for example,” Scifres  said. “The queen contest will be on the outdoor stage. So some of the events that we’ve had on the indoor stage will be move to the outdoor stage, so we can have fresh air.”

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