Brown County Summer Fest set to open at county fairgrounds

Published: Aug. 11, 2020 at 7:46 PM CDT
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ABERDEEN, S.D. (Dakota News Now) - The Brown County fairgrounds have been quieter this summer, after the cancellation of the 2020 Brown County Fair. But residents can still expect to see rides and vendors there this weekend.

Following the cancellation of the county fair, the Brown County Commission went ahead and started planning for a smaller fair, called the Brown County Summer Fest.

The event will be a trimmed-down version of the county fair, with less vendors and activities but with the same fair functions that those in Brown County are used to. Rachel Kippely is the Chair of the County Commission. She said that community support to hold a smaller fair is what drove the Commission to set up the Summer Fest.

“But there was a huge outcry from a lot of folks in the community that, even though they realized we couldn’t do a full blown fair, they wanted something. They wanted some type of an event before fall gets here. They send the kids back to school. It’s been a summer unlike any other where just even some small piece of normalcy would be welcomed.” said Kippely.

Duane Sutton is also a Commissioner for Brown County, and said that the push from the community is what gave the green light to start planning for the Summer Fest.

“A lot of people reached out to us and said ‘You know, the fair is one of the funnest parts of the summer. We look forward to it every year. Our family plans our vacation around it, we come out here and camp.’ So we thought, we could put something together.” said Sutton.

Compared to a normal year, Kippely said that the smaller amount of non-food vendors will be the biggest difference in events. Over half of non-food vendors will not be attending the Summer Fest. But Kippely says that the Commission is working with what it can, and that those who attend will still get their fix of fair fun.

“We took out the big pieces, took what we could do with out volunteers. So anybody can come for just an hour, sit under our free tent, hear some music and some entertainment.” said Kippely.

Social distancing is also something the Commission has taken into consideration. So far, plans for more sanitizing stations and social distance measures in high-traffic areas are being set up.

“There’s plenty of space out here. We’ve taken extra precautions. We put extra space between all of the vendors. We’ve got hand-washing stations, hand sanitizer. You know, everybody knows the fresh air is good for you.” said Kippely.

The Summer Fest is not meant to be a permanent fixture in Brown County. Sutton said that the event is simply meant to be a patch for where the county fair was meant to be, and still give people in the county something to look forward to.

“This is something that will never happen again. We’re not planning this to be an annual event. We’re not planning it to take the place of the fair. It’ll be a one-and-done, and hopefully it doesn’t cost the county a ton of money to put on.” said Sutton.

The full list of events and schedule to the Summer Fest can be found here.

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