What will county fairs look like this summer?

Mackenzie Davis
Updated: May 03, 2021 06:50 PM
Created: May 03, 2021 04:24 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Fairs are going to look different this summer because of the pandemic.

Gov. Walz announced last week that the Minnesota State Fair should look pretty close to normal this year, which is good news for county fairs.

"You might not see as many food vendors and that's unfortunate because some of them just aren't in business anymore. You might not see as many commercial vendors, again, for the same reason," Brandon Helgeson, director of the Olmsted County Fair Board said.

County fairs in southeast Minnesota will be following state guidelines regarding restrictions, capacity and mask mandates.

Helgeson says the safety of our community is the most important thing.

Olmsted County Fair is the second-largest county fair in the state of Minnesota, expecting to see just over 200,000 in attendance this year if everything is open. The vaccination status of Minnesotans is promising.

"It's really going to be dependent on what the Minnesota Department of Health guidelines are at the time. If there is still a mask mandate, we're going to require masks. If there's not, we're still going to suggest that you mask up," Helgeson said.

The same will go for Dodge County Free Fair.

"We're working at things and time will tell. You have to have everything lined up and ready to go, it's just a matter of where things are going to be at the time," Marilyn Lermon, president of the Dodge County Free Fair Board said.

Dodge County will be adding more sanitation stations throughout the fairgrounds.

"We're kind of taking it day by day, week by week as to where things are going," Lermon said.

Dodge County Free Fair normally attracts 38,000 fair-goers, but only time will tell this year. 

"There's a lot of people that are looking forward to the fair. They were disappointed that we didn't have it last year but, there was no way we could do that," Lermon said.

Freeborn County Fair in Albert Lea announced Friday that it has been canceled this year due to safety concerns and large expenses. 

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