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Burnet farmers market to open later; county fair canceled

Burnet Farmers and Crafts Market gets late start in 2020

The Burnet Farmers and Crafts Market usually opens in May, but organizers have pushed the start date to Saturday, June 6. The market, held each Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on the courthouse square, runs through November 14. Staff photo by Daniel Clifton

While the Burnet Farmers and Crafts Market has pushed its opening day from May to June, the 2020 Burnet County Area Fair has been canceled, both decisions made due to concerns over the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We haven’t even been able to meet since March as a group,” said Lela Goar about the county fair committee. “There are so many things that go into holding the county fair, and you can’t get it all done a month before.”

The event was scheduled for June 12-13. Postponing it until later in the summer did not seem feasible, so it was canceled.

“We didn’t want to, but we thought it was best,” Goar said.

Another popular event, the Burnet Farmers and Crafts Market, which takes place Saturdays on the courthouse square, usually starts in early May, just as the first spring vegetables are ready for picking.

The Highland Lakes Masters Gardeners Association, which runs the market, had to wait until the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service gave the thumbs-up and Gov. Greg Abbott cleared the way with his executive orders. The Master Gardeners group falls under the AgriLife umbrella.

Association member Jenny McCoy said the market, which offers local produce, meat, and handmade goods, will open Saturday, June 6, on the square and run through November 14.

The Master Gardeners will meet May 18 to work out details for this year’s market.

While the 2020 fair was called off, Goar said the committee is planning for an even bigger show next year. The fair usually draws 600-700 entries across a number of divisions each year.

The 2021 show will stick with this year’s theme of “Blue Jeans and Country Dreams.” Competitors may enter items they made for this year’s exhibit in the 2021 event. Typically, Goar said, exhibitors are only allowed to enter what they made the year of a show.

Of course, she pointed out, food and flowers won’t last until 2021, but crafts and durable goods will.

Fair organizers looked at ways to hold the event this year, but they had many concerns. Even though there are seldom more than 100 people inside the Burnet Community Center, where the event is held, at one time, the very nature of the fair and its activities mean people are often in close proximity to one another.

Plus, Goar said, some committee members and exhibitors are in higher-risk populations when it comes to contracting coronavirus.

“We just couldn’t risk it,” she said.

If you are interested in being a vendor at the Burnet Farmers and Crafts Market, contact Jenny McCoy through the Highland Lakes Master Gardener Association website.