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Almost half of Tennessee's county fairs are cancelled, but some are still moving forward with festivities

The Jefferson County Fair decided to join almost half of other fairs in the state and cancel. The Sevier County Fair is proceeding with more precautions.

TENNESSEE, USA — Almost half of Tennessee's annual fairs are not happening this year, including the majority of county fairs in East Tennessee. But, some are taking the chance and going forward with regular plans.

The Tennessee Valley Fair in Knoxville called of this year's festivities at the beginning of June. Since then, smaller county fairs have followed that lead to close the gates for 2020.

According to the Tennessee Association of Fairs, there are 59 fairs across the state of Tennessee, with 26 cancelling, 26 still going forward and the rest undecided.

For the Jefferson County Fair, the decision to cancel wasn't an easy road. President of the Jefferson County Fair, Sam Thompson, said a lot of thought, prayer and tears went into the call.

RELATED: Jefferson County Fair focuses on safety

"We realized early in March that things were probably gonna progress to a point where we probably weren't gonna be able to have a fair," Thompson nodded.

The fair board decided at the beginning of June the twirling and twinkling lights will be turned off for the year after considering the health risks the event might spark.

"We decided that we would rather be a part of attempting to help get rid of this virus that we have going around here instead of taking a chance on just infecting one person," Thompson explained.

Jefferson County said cancelling was a blessing in disguise. It's a chance to catch up on money lost and prepare for next year.

RELATED: Jefferson County Fair continues despite financial hurdles

"We couldn't really see spending money that we maybe didn't have to get ready for the fair and still have those unknowns that hey, a week before we open up we could get told we couldn't have the fair," Thompson admitted.

Down the road, in Sevier County, that's a risk they're willing to take, according to Marketing and Sales chair Tammie Browning.

"We'll keep rolling, we'll keep planning until last minute and if we have to cancel, then we're just prepared for next year," Browning said.

Despite the rise in COVID-19 cases, the Sevier County Fair is still scheduled for September 1-7.

RELATED: Sevier County says, Come to the fair, y'all

"We were right at the verge of cancelling and city officials really wanted to reach out to us and talk about possibilities with that," Browning admitted.

Now, they're on track to offer the same experience, but with more precautions in place.

"Whatever guidelines they have set is what we will end up following, but we're hoping that things will get better in a couple of months," Browning said.

The fair board knows some will steer clear of the gates and understands not everyone will feel safe to come out and enjoy the fair. But they hope people from other counties will come in and take a spin.

"If they don't come this year, we hope they come next year," Browning said.

If you would like to volunteer or donate to the Sevier County Fair, you can visit seviercountyfair.org or contact Tammie Browning at 865-453-0770 or tammiescf@gmail.com.

The Sevier County Fair is holding a community round table on July 8 at the King Family Library, starting at 6:30 for people to learn more about plans for the year.

If you would like to volunteer or donate to the Jefferson County Fair, you can visit jeffersoncountyfair.com and give Thompson a call at 865-475-8805.

FULL LIST OF FAIR STATUS ACROSS THE STATE:

Anderson County Fair –  Cancelled for 2020
Appalachian County Fair – Cancelled for 2020
Bedford County Fair – Cancelled for 2020
Benton County Fair – On As Scheduled
Bledsoe County Fair – On As Scheduled
Carroll County Fair – On As Scheduled
Cheatham County Fair – Cancelled for 2020
Claiborne County Fair – On As Scheduled
Clay County Fair – Cancelled for 2020
Cocke County Fair – Cancelled for 2020
Coffee County Fair – On As Scheduled
Cumberland County Fair – Cancelled for 2020
Decatur County Fair – On As Scheduled
DeKalb County Fair – Cancelled for 2020
Dickson County Fair – On As Scheduled
Dyer County Fair – Undecided
Fentress County Ag. FairCancelled for 2020
Franklin County Fair – On As Scheduled
Gibson County Fair – On As Scheduled
Giles County FairCancelled for 2020
Greene County Fair – Cancelled for 2020
Grundy County Fair – On As Scheduled
Hamilton County Fair – Unconfirmed
Hardin County Fair –  Unconfirmed
Henderson County Fair – On As Scheduled
Henry County Fair – On As Scheduled
Hickman County Fair – Cancelled for 2020
Houston County Fair – On As Scheduled
Humphreys County Fair – Undecided
Jefferson County Fair – Cancelled for 2020

Lauderdale County Fair – On As Scheduled
Lincoln County Fair – Undecided
Macon County Fair – Cancelled for 2020
Marion County Fair – Cancelled for 2020
Maury County Fair – On As Scheduled
Meigs County Fair – Cancelled for 2020
Middle TN District Fair – On As Scheduled
Morgan County Fair – On As Scheduled
Obion County Fair – On As Scheduled
Overton County Fair – Cancelled for 2020
Polk County Fair – Cancelled for 2020
Putnam County Fair – Cancelled for 2020
Rhea County Fair – On As Scheduled
Robertson County Fair – Undecided
Scott County Fair – Cancelled for 2020
Sequatchie County Fair – On As Scheduled
Sevier County Fair – On As Scheduled
Smith County Fair – On As Scheduled
South Central Area Fair – On As Scheduled
Sumner County Fair – Cancelled for 2020
Tennessee State Fair – Cancelled for 2020
Tennessee Valley Fair – Cancelled for 2020
Trousdale County Fair – On As Scheduled
VanBuren County Fair – Cancelled for 2020
Warren County Fair – On As Scheduled
West Tennessee State Fair – On As Scheduled
White County Fair – Undecided
Williamson County Fair – Cancelled for 2020
Wilson County Fair – Cancelled for 2020