Planned demolition derby is legal but raises virus concerns

Farwell

A demolition derby scheduled for the Otsego County Fairgrounds in Morris this weekend will take place despite concerns of some local residents and politicians. 

Jeffy's Fab Farm Mini Meltdown 2020, promoted by Spinning Wheels, will be held without fans beginning at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, and Sunday, Aug. 30, according to the event's website. All spots in the event have been taken and registration is closed. 

"Mini Meltdown is still being held on August 29th & 30th," according to a post on www.spinningwheels.com. "However, due to strict state and local regulations, we will NOT BE ALLOWED TO HAVE SPECTATORS. Each driver is allowed (three) essential pit crew personnel with them when entering the facility (NO EXCEPTIONS)."

The event has caused concern in Morris and the surrounding towns, according to Otsego County Rep. Michele Farwell, D-Butternuts, Morris, Pittsfield.

"I've been contacted by a lot of people who are concerned, who can't understand how this can happen," Farwell said during the county's Board of Representatives meeting Wednesday, Aug. 5. The meeting was held via Zoom and broadcast on Facebook Live because of the coronavirus.

However, the event is legal under executive orders given by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, which allow race tracks to operate as long as no fans are allowed at the events. 

"There is a special executive order to allow race tracks to hold events, but without spectators," Rep. Andrew Marietta, D-Otsego said at the same meeting, "so they absolutely have the right to do so but without spectators. 

"It is black and white, right in the executive order," he said. 

Participants will have to fill out a COVID health screening form, according to the Spinning Wheels website, including quarantining for the past two weeks if they are coming from a state on New York's quarantine list. As of Monday, Aug. 25, 28 states and three territories were on the list. However, it does not include any of the states that neighbor New York. 

According to the Spinning Wheels website, the Mini Meltdown is one of the few upcoming shows the promotion has not canceled. Fair shows in Essex, Lewis, Otsego and Wayne counties have all been canceled. 

A message send to the Spinning Wheels promotion's website Thursday morning seeking more information about the event was not returned by deadline Thursday.  

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