PETALUMA (CBS SF) -- Call it the polar opposite in the dog world spectrum from the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, but annually the Sonoma-Marin Fair has cast a spotlight on pooches only their owners can love.
No best of breed, regal trots across the stage or litany read of a pedigree. The fair has given a brief spotlight to what it terms are the ugliest dogs on the planet.
But this year, the coronavirus has turned off that spotlight. Sonoma-Marin Fair CEO Allison Keaney has announced the fair, scheduled for the last week in June, has been cancelled because of fears of spreading the coronavirus.
"We hoped that as the shelter in place deadline of May 3rd approached, we would be able to move forward with our fair," she said. "We explored all the options, but we understand that this is the right decision for the safety and well-being of our community."
It marks the first time in decades that the fair will not take place.
"Fairs represent an important celebration of community" said Keaney. "COVID-19 has changed how we are able to stay connected, and we are working on finding a way to adapt."
Aside from its famed dog contest, the fair also raises nearly $35,000 in scholarships and awards each year. This year the fair board and staff are trying to find a way to continue that tradition.
Fair officials are encouraging exhibitors to stay connected as they work through the details of offering a virtual fair for livestock exhibitors, still exhibitors, and the community at large.
"It is our mission to showcase agriculture, and the unique talents and interests of the residents of Marin and Sonoma Counties," Keaney said. "We are a wonderfully diverse community with so much talent. It is important that we find a way to showcase this, even if it's online."
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