Douglas County Fair returning to full schedule this summer; court’s use of fairgrounds won’t limit events

photo by: Dylan Lysen/Lawrence Journal-World

Douglas County Fairgrounds, 2120 Harper St.

The animals, crowds and carnival atmosphere of the Douglas County Fair won’t be disrupting any important jury trials this summer.

The Douglas County Fair, which is scheduled for late July, is set to be conducted as usual, despite the Douglas County District Court still using some of the fairgrounds facilities as off-site courtrooms.

Margaret Kalb, executive secretary for the fair board, told the Journal-World this week that the fair was scheduled for July 24-31 and would include all of the traditional events that county residents have come to expect, including pre-fair events beginning July 17.

“We will have all the public events, such as the demolition derby and the bull bash, as well as all the livestock shows and free entertainment,” Kalb said.

But fairgoers and participants may have worried that some of the events would not be possible this summer because the court is currently using Building 21 and the Flory Meeting Hall to conduct jury trials. As the Journal-World previously reported, when the court resumed jury trials in April, it began using the fairgrounds facilities because they provided more space for physical distancing and other public health precautions.

Building 21 is used for many fair events, including art, horticulture and food classes and some animal showings, among others.

However, Kalb said there was no reason to worry, as the fair organizers have routinely informed the court that the facilities would be needed for the fair and pre-fair events.

The District Court’s chief judge, James McCabria, confirmed that the court was aware of the fair’s need of the facilities and has made sure it would not be using the buildings during the fair.

While vaccinations have helped life feel more normal, the court continues to use many of its public health precautions in courtrooms and to use the fairgrounds facilities to conduct jury trials. McCabria said the court’s use of the fairgrounds facilities would continue indefinitely.

Whether the court will leave the fairgrounds before the fair or continue to use the facilities after the fair is currently unknown, he said.

“After consultation with the health department, placing people less than six feet apart would not conform to current recommendations given our policy of not making distinctions between vaccinated and non-vaccinated persons,” McCabria said in an email to the Journal-World. “As long as that remains the case, felony jury trials will continue at the fairgrounds.”

Meanwhile, county residents will get the full fair experience this year. While the 2020 fair took place, Kalb said it did not feature the more public events because of the pandemic.

“We are really looking forward to returning to a ‘regular’ schedule with all the events,” Kalb said of the 2021 fair.

More information about the fair and its schedule of events can be found on the event’s website,

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