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Destruction Derby, Amador County Fair, 7-28-2019.

Summer just won’t be the same this year in Amador County due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

For the first time since 1881, the Italian Picnic and Parade, held annually during the first weekend in June, won’t be celebrated. Last week, the Amador County Arts Council announced that after 22 years of free concerts in the parks, it’s popular TGIF concert series will go dark this summer (see story on page D4). And now the beloved Amador County Fair, scheduled for July 23-26, has been cancelled.

No corn dogs, no pageantry, no destruction derby.

In a statement released last Thursday, May 14, Amador County Fair CEO Rich Hoffman announced: “Dear fellow fair lovers, it is with a heavy heart that I must report the Board of Directors, driven entirely by conditions related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the safety of our fairgoers, staff, volunteers, exhibitors and vendors, and the very future of the Amador County Fair itself, made the very difficult decision to cancel the 2020 Fair. We will be working, as conditions allow, with our county health officials on alternative smaller events to bridge the budget gap this creates for not only the Fair, but our community who relies on the fair as a source of fundraising.

“We will get through this together.”

Hoffman also said that the Fair’s Board of Directors made a commitment to organize a virtual junior livestock auction for this year, the details of which to be released as soon possible. The Calaveras County Fair, which would have been held last week, held a similar online auction on Sunday, May 17 with positive results, raising more than $430,000.

Amador County’s Stay-at-Home Order officially expired last Friday, May 15. While the county remains under the guidance of the current state stay-at-home order, many local restaurants welcomed the return of diners starting last week as a result of the state giving approval for the county to accelerate more quickly through Stage 2 of the reopening process.

The Amador County Public Health Department did report a new positive COVID-19 case on Monday – a male in his 30s, who resides in Volcano – however it was noted by Amador Public Health Officer Dr. Rita Kerr that the exposure came prior to the county’s accelerated reopening. Amador’s current total of reported cases was at 10 as of Thursday morning, May 21. Calaveras County remained at 13 cases.

Local city governments continue to grapple with the economic impacts of COVID-19. The Ione City Council, it its latest meeting, projected revenue from sales tax to drop between 15 and 20 percent due to the shelter-in-place restrictions, while the Sutter Creek City Council discussed tapping into reserve funds to help make up for expected losses in revenue from sales and hotel tax.

Meanwhile, California Governor Gavin Newsom’s latest budget proposal presented last week called for the closure of several of the state’s youth prisons along with the Pine Grove Youth Conservation Fire Camp.