Large St. Malachy Country Fair 2020 canceled; smaller parish/family event planned
By Lindsay Doty
The St. Malachy Country Fair will look different this year. The large-scale weekend event known for its carnival rides, games, food tents, raffles and large crowds had to be canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The fair held every September on the St. Malachy Catholic Church property in Brownsburg typically attracts crowds of 10,000 people. Organizers knew it wouldn’t work during a pandemic.
“As much as the committee discussed and strategized, it became apparent there just did not seem to be a safe means to carry out the Country Fair, as we knew it, in 2020,” Country Fair committee chairman Beatrice Bursten said in a letter to parishioners.
Instead, the church is planning a smaller-scale parish and family Hog Roast for Sept. 19. The roast will be done on the field to allow more room for social distancing. The smaller gathering (as of print time) will include some live music and limited food and drink tent menu. The three popular events from the Country Fair will still happen, including the reverse raffle, silent auction, and the grand raffle.
“We’re just trying to bring some hope and joy into the lives of parishioners by being able to do this for them on a smaller scale,” said Sean Danda, pastor of St. Malachy Parish in Brownsburg.
The St. Malachy Country Fair has been the biggest fundraiser for the church. It has brought in between $80,000 to $95,000 in recent years. Like so many other fundraisers, the scaled-down version will impact numbers.
“We saw this coming, so we cut as much out of budget as we could. So, it will affect things,” said Danda.
“I would just say, I think every church and charity is hurting and needs your generosity, but we also are people of faith and trusting that God will work things out for us,” he said.
St. Malachy Catholic Church recently returned to its regular in-person mass schedule with masks and spaced seating. Some parishioners still choose the virtual worship option.
The 2020 Country Fair would have been the 47th consecutive year for the Country Fair following the Sesquicentennial Anniversary celebration year of the St. Malachy Catholic Church.