Committee, fair board working on plan to hold 4-H sales despite Benton-Franklin Fair & Rodeo cancellation

KENNEWICK, Wash. — The best week of summer is now the latest disappointment coming brought about by the pandemic. Organizers of the Benton-Franklin Fair & Rodeo announced in a Facebook post on Thursday that despite efforts to make it work they had to come to a difficult decision.

“It really wasn’t our decision to make,” said Lori Lancaster, executive director of the fair. “We were hopeful in the beginning that we could be moving through the phases more quickly, but under the state guidelines 120,000 people are not going to be allowed to congregate on carnival rides and share cotton candy and all the things we love to do during the best week of summer.”

This sure isn’t the year anyone saw coming. Since March we’ve been working hard to keep the fair on track, despite all…

Posted by Benton-Franklin Fair & Rodeo on Thursday, June 11, 2020

In 2019 alone, the fair brought in $18.5 million, but the effects of the cancellation go beyond the overall economic impact.

“Our little pig, Bullseye, is at home right now and my 9-year-old is learning how to show even though she doesn’t have a show to go to this year,” said Tom Kinion, president of the market stock committee.

Kinion also started participating in 4-H at the Benton-Franklin Fair when he was nine years old.

“It’s a sad deal across the board,” he said. “I know seniors, and this was going to be their last year.”

The market stock committee is now working closely with the fair board to come up with a Plan B. While traditional 4-H shows are most likely not an option at this point, Kinion says they are going to try hold some kind of sale, whether that’s in-person or virtual.

“We still want to make that the best week of summer,” said Kinion.

And when it comes to fair ticket refunds, rescheduling concerts and more, a lot of the work is just getting started.

“We need to start undoing everything we’ve done for the last 10 months and look forward to 2021,” said Lancaster.