FRANKLIN — One of the bigger county fairs in central Indiana is scaling back in a big way this year.
The Johnson County Fair Board decided Thursday that the fair in Franklin, from July 19-25, will be a 4-H only event. It will not be open to the general public.
Johnson County joins a long list of Indiana county fairs that are going "virtual" or limiting activities to 4-H events, due to COVID-19 restrictions and concerns.
Neighboring Bartholomew, Shelby, Morgan and Brown counties have taken similar steps in recent days.
Indeed, it appears only a small number of counties will attempt a fair with the usual midway, rides and other public attractions.
Purdue Extension, which sets the rules for county fairs, issued a long list or virus-related restrictions earlier this month. Fairs can be held, but only if a series of safety measures are followed. County fair organizer, as they have huddled over the last two weeks, have generally found they don't have the resources and money to do that.
In Johnson County, the fair will be a 4-H exhibitor event only. The queen contest will take place, but with social distancing rules and other restrictions in place. Livestock shows will be broadcast live on social media.
The annual 4-H parade, a popular fair-related event through downtown Franklin was canceled.