State fairs could get federal help under congressman’s new bill


MODESTO, California (KSEE/KGPE) — A Modesto-area member of Congress is introducing a bill designed to help support county and state fairs battling to stay operational during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Protecting Fairs During Coronavirus Act would create an emergency grant program designed to offset the money lost by the fairs while they are forced to remain closed. The bill was proposed by Rep. Josh Harder, who says the fairs generate approximately $3.5 billion in annual economic impact.

“We don’t want to lose a single acre of fairgrounds or see a single fair shut down permanently because of this pandemic,” said Rep. Harder.

“I went to the Stanislaus County Fair as a kid and even won some blue ribbons along the way – but these fairs are more than family fun – they are also an economic engine and job creators for rural communities. We have to do everything we can to protect them.”

If approved, the Protecting Fairs During Coronavirus Act would establish a $5 billion federal grant program to make up for the fairs’ shortfall in revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic.

An application would need to be made by the state to the USDA, and the funds would then be distributed to the individual fairs.

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