A young volunteer chases three piglets named Mary Hamkins, Petunia and Sir Oinks-a-lot through a race during the pig races at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

A young volunteer chases three piglets named Mary Hamkins, Petunia and Sir Oinks-a-lot through a race during the pig races at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Friday, Aug. 16, 2019 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Kenai Peninsula Fair canceled this year

Cotton candy, carnival rides and racing pigs will have to wait for another summer, according to the board of directors for the Kenai Peninsula Fair. The annual fair in Ninilchik has been canceled and will resume in 2021.

The board made an announcement on the fair’s Facebook page June 30. Board President Jim Stearns said it was not an easy decision and that it came with spirited discussion among the board members.

The fair, which is held at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik, had been scheduled for Aug. 14-16 and was canceled due to safety concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19. While the board voted unanimously to cancel the fair this year, the rodeo that traditionally happens in conjunction with the fair is scheduled to continue. Stearns explained that while the two events both occur at the fairgrounds at the same time, the rodeo operates independently of the fair.

Even if the fair had gone on this summer, it would have been without the 4-H livestock auction, Stearns explained. Run by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension, Alaska 4-H canceled in-person activities in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

There was some argument for putting the fair on this year with safety precautions, Stearns said, but in the end the board decided it was not worth the risk after hearing feedback from the community.

“We don’t want to be responsible for an outbreak on the Kenai Peninsula,” he said.

Stearns referenced the current outbreak in Seward as a situation the fair board members want to avoid. What the community stood to gain from the fair was outweighed by the health risks that would have come with it, he said.

There is the possibility of a small vendor fair taking place in conjunction with the rodeo, if things are looking more stable by August, Stearns said. The rodeo will go on either way, but he said the fair will decide at a later date whether to hold a food and craft fair with Alaska-only vendors the same weekend.

For now, though, Stearns said the fair board is focusing on “making next year’s fair the best one ever.”

Reach Megan Pacer at mpacer@homernews.com.

More in News

In this June 2019 photo, people gather outside U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s office in Juneau, Alaska, to protest the proposed Pebble Mine. The Pebble Limited Partnership, which wants to build a copper and gold mine near the headwaters of a major U.S. salmon fishery in southwest Alaska, says it plans to offer residents in the region a dividend. (AP Photo/Becky Bohrer, File)
Mine developer sees review as positive for Alaska project

Pebble is on track to win key approvals. Critics say it has been rushed and is inadequate.

AP FILE PHOTO BY James Poulson/Daily Sitka Sentinel 
                                The bronze statue of 19th century Russian America Governor Alexander Baranov sports a hard hat and a reflective vest, after being moved from its original site in front of Centennial Hall in Sitka in February 2013. Far away from Confederate memorials, Alaska residents have joined the movement to eliminate statues of colonialists accused of abusing and exploiting Indigenous people. The effort has already resulted in the statue of Baranov being taken out of public view in the city.
Homer Farmers Market: Booths are brimming

I didn’t even get to the Homer Farmers Market until 2 p.m.… Continue reading

Gary Stevens looks to keep his Alaska Senate seat

Incumbent Gary Stevens is making a bid to keep his seat in… Continue reading

Soldotna’s Greg Madden makes bid for Alaska Senate

Relative political newcomer Greg Madden of Soldotna is hoping to serve his… Continue reading

John Cox makes a run at Senate District P seat

In a bid for what would be his freshman term in state… Continue reading

The Compass men’s residential addiction treatment facility, located about 15 miles east of Homer, Alaska, had an open house on Saturday, July 25, 2020. The facility is slated to accept its first clients in about a week. (Photo courtesy Lindsey Cashman)
Residential addiction treatment facility for men opens outside Homer

Men from the Homer area and beyond seeking recovery from addiction can… Continue reading

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Additional hospital staff test positive for COVID-19 as state count continues to rise

Alaska recorded 91 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, with 67 new… Continue reading

Most Read