[LIVINGSTON] – Due to the recent flooding, the Livingston Parish Fair has been canceled for the fourth time since 1937.
The Livingston Parish Fair Association made the decision to cancel the 79th annual fair because of the flooding’s effects on the community. Lynn Sibley, president of the Livingston Parish Fair Association, said that the flooding submerged all of the facilities in 5 feet of water.
“The conditions are devastating, yes, but it is not our homes or personal businesses. We will recover,” Sibley said.
Before making the decision, the fair association took the community’s financial status into consideration. Members of the association believe the town will benefit more from the cancellation this year rather than continuing with the fair as planned.
Members also considered the cancellation’s effect on public schools. Livingston Parish schools are canceling the fair holiday and classes will be in session on Oct. 7.
According to Sibley, canceling the fair was a very difficult decision for the fair association to make.
“This cuts deeper than anyone can imagine,” she said. Sibley also said that she hopes to see a bigger, better and drier 80th celebration for the fair next October.
FEMA evaluated the conditions of the fairgrounds. After reviewing water levels and flood zone information, FEMA deemed the lot unsafe as a temporary mobile home site for flood victims. Instead, the fairgrounds are being used as a demolition location for thousands of flooded vehicles.
Previous cancellations of the fair date back to World War II, the 1982 train derailment and Hurricane Katrina.
The annual beauty pageant is one of the fair’s popular events. The reigning 78th Miss Livingston Parish Fair Queen Mackenzie Johnson said there are no decisions made in regards to her reign ending on Oct. 8 or continuing to represent the fair for another year. She said she would be honored to do it again. “I would not leave our parish out of balance without someone who supports and represents them all year,” Johnson said.
Another group largely affected is 4-H. Jessie Hoover, a Livingston Parish 4-H agent, said that the fair hosts approximately 150 4-H members’ exhibits annually. She said the fair gives the students local practice before competing in larger livestock shows.
Although livestock exhibitors will have a chance to compete in the annual parish livestock show in January, the 4-H students involved in home economics will not get to show their projects until the next fair.