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A Dramatically Different Three County Fair Concludes In Northampton, Mass.

Because of COVID-19, this year's Three County Fair was far different than in past years. There was no demolition derby, carnival rides, games — or the public. The fair was limited to arts and crafts exhibits and youth livestock competitions.

Seventeen-year-old Joanna Jaracz of Cummington was there with her seven brothers and sisters, as well as her sheep. This was her eighth year at the fair. She won a blue ribbon for showmanship.

"It does suck that the public can’t come this year," Jaracz said. "But this will be one for the books [because]  we got the show during the 2020 coronavirus, but we’re so glad that the Three County Fair stepped up and is doing the show this year." 

Heather Mason of Huntington was also at the scaled-down version of the fair. She said she started participating in the youth rabbit show as a child 25 years ago and was now helping her sons do the same.

"I’m glad the Three County Fair decided to have the youth show," she said. "It’s different but it’s good for the kids to be able to get out and show off their rabbits and show off some of their skills."

James Przypek, who is the general manager of the fair, said it’s been in operation since 1818.

"We are the longest running continuous agricultural fair in the country," he said. "Through world wars, through other pandemics, the fair has gone on but we’ve never had to be closed to the public before."

Przypek said the fair will lose about $1 million because of the pandemic, but he’s hopeful they can open the gates next year. 

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.
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