There will be no Crow Wing County Fair this summer.

Fair officials made the decision after the Minnesota State Fair board of managers met Friday, May 22, and announced the cancellation of the state fair due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“This is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my life,” said Gary Doucette, general manager of the Crow Wing County Fair. “The kids are going to be so disappointed. I wish I had a magic wand and could say ‘problem solved,’ but I can’t.

“We are heartbroken like everyone else. ... This hurts a lot of people.”

The Crow Wing County Fair, which is among the five largest county fairs in the state, was scheduled to open Aug. 4 and run through Aug. 8. The county fair typically attracts 100,000 people teach year and offers all the popular fun fair favorites: mini doughnuts, cheese curds and elephant ears, carnival rides in the Midway, bull riding and motocross racing in the grandstands; not to mention all the 4-H animals, such as the rabbits, cattle, goats, pigs, horses and sheep, to name a few.

“This is so sad,” Crow Wing County Fair Board President Sharon Ryappy said of the cancellation. “It’s hard to imagine how we would run a county fair if it wasn’t canceled, with all the restrictions that are in place. How would you control it? It would be tough.”

Ryappy said by early afternoon she already heard about 25 county fairs that followed the state fair’s lead and canceled.

Even though the fair is canceled, county officials plan to explore options to see if they could do something else. In the coming months, Doucette and Ryappy said they plan to have the fair board meet to brainstorm ideas on possibly working with the 4-H organization and having youths show their animals. However, they are not sure that will work.

“We’d like to do something to help the kids out,” Doucette said. “These kids spend so much time with their animals. Hopefully, maybe we can do something, but it's way too early to say for sure. There would be a lot of planning going into it.

“You try to be strong, but you feel like you are disappointing the kids. We put this on for them, for our community and now it can't happen. At this point we are a cog in the wheel, but the welfare of our people are first and foremost.”

JENNIFER KRAUS may be reached at jennifer.kraus@brainerddispatch.com or 218-855-5851. Follow me at www.twitter.com/jennewsgirl on Twitter.