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Benton County Fair & Rodeo canceled
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Benton County Fair & Rodeo canceled

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Benton County Fair (copy)

Kids enjoy a ride on the midway of last year's Benton County Fair & Rodeo in this file photo from August. This year's fair has been canceled due to state restrictions on gatherings aimed at slowing the coronavirus epidemic.

Add the Benton County Fair & Rodeo to the list of events being scratched from this summer’s schedule due to coronavirus concerns.

Last week Gov. Kate Brown extended the ban on gatherings of more than 25 people, and now the fair has bowed to the inevitable.

“The governor pretty much made the decision for us,” said Lynne McKee, manager of the Benton County Fairgrounds. “It’s a sad thing.”

McKee said fair officials are working on plans to hold a “virtual fair” and online livestock auction for 4-H participants “so the kids can have some kind of a fair experience.”

The decision was made early enough that the fair was able to cancel its contracts with vendors, performers and other service providers.

“We canceled everything,” McKee said. “Everyone understood. … Everyone was disappointed, but they knew it was coming.”

The Benton County Fair & Rodeo had been scheduled for July 29-Aug.1 at the county fairgrounds just west of Corvallis, with rising country music stars Canaan Smith and Colt Ford leading an entertainment lineup that also included a number of tribute acts.

Reporter Bennett Hall can be contacted at bennett.hall@lee.net or 541-812-6111. Follow him on Twitter at @bennetthallgt.

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