09/09/21 SHELBY, NC – Last night, the Cleveland County Fair Board held an emergency meeting to discuss the sharp rise in local COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations associated with the Delta variant of the virus. Following the joint recommendation of the Cleveland County Health Department and Atrium Health-Cleveland, the Fair Board decided, after careful consideration and lengthy discussion, that the 2021 Cleveland County Fair would be cancelled.
“Our priority is the health and safety of the community,” Cleveland County Health Director Tiffany Hansen said. “As numbers continue to rise and the pandemic continues to unfold, the medical system is being severely impacted, and we are at risk of losing more lives. In the face of this unprecedented situation, the decision to hold this year’s fair had to be reconsidered.”
The Cleveland County Fair was set to run Sept. 30 to Oct. 10. While the Fair Board had planned for additional safety measures, concern by local health and public safety officials over the severe impact this event could have on the county’s already strained medical system led local leaders to this difficult decision.
“The Fair Board did not come to this conclusion easily, and we know that people will have mixed emotions, as we all do,” Cleveland County Fair Board Chairman Alex Lattimore said. “The Board would like to thank those who have supported this event and looks forward to welcoming everyone back to the fair in 2022.”
The Fair began in 1923. It is the largest outdoor county agriculture fair in North Carolina and continues to be the largest community event in Cleveland County. The rich tradition of this event has been a highlight for residents not only of Cleveland County, but of the entire region, for nearly 100 years. The Fair Board and County leadership stand committed to continuing this tradition for many years to come.