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June 30, 2020 – Due to continued COVID-19 restrictions on mass gatherings, the Nevada County Fairgrounds Board of Directors voted Tuesday evening to cancel the 2020 Draft Horse Classic.

The Board made the decision to cancel the event after further reviewing the Governors executive orders and guidance regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and mass gatherings. According to the California Roadmap to Recovery, festivals, big outdoor events, and other large events are in Stage 4 of the reopening plan and will not be permitted until the roadmap is complete and all shelter in place restrictions are lifted. The Draft Horse Classic, which typically welcomes more than 15,000 to the Fairgrounds for the event, is considered a mass gathering event under the current guidelines.

“Unfortunately, similar to the decision we had to make for the Fair, we really didn’t have a choice in light of the restrictions on mass gatherings at this time,” said Jeanette Royal, Board President of California’s 17th District Agricultural Association. “Still, it doesn’t make the decision any easier, as each event canceled has an impact on its participants, the community and the Fairgrounds, and it is disheartening to have to cancel another of our premier events. However, we have to follow the guidelines set by the Governor and State public health directives to postpone mass gatherings until we can safely host them again.”

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This is the third time that the Draft Horse Classic has been canceled since its introduction in 1987. It was cancelled in 1988 due to the 49er Fire and in 1989 due to weather.

“The amazing Gentle Giant monument that stands at the entry to the Fairgrounds speaks to the special significance the Classic has to the Fairgrounds. Each year, we recognize and honor the incredible history of heavy working horses and their role in local agriculture and forestry,” said Patrick Eidman, CEO of the Nevada County Fairgrounds. “We will miss our draft horse exhibitors and providing our community the opportunity to interact with those big beautiful horses, but we look forward to safely welcoming back the Classic in 2021.”

For information about the Draft Horse Classic and the Nevada County Fairgrounds, visit NevadaCountyFair.com.