by Terry Rogers
The Delaware State Fair opened on Thursday, July 23 with no concerts, reduced vendor participation, and social distancing rules. Face coverings are required when indoors and inside exhibit areas as well as outside where it is difficult to social distance. The lack of concerts and announcements that many popular vendors will not be at the Fair this year has led to mixed feelings about attendance.
“Not going anywhere, except essentials, with mandatory mask requirements,” Joe Wells said. Charlene Wildonger also stated that she would not be attending due to mask requirements. Yvonne Kenton Lynch stated the lack of concerts for not going this year. Some who were against masks believed that the heat, which is often excessive during the fair, would be dangerous.
JoAnn Ianire Elliott, stated that because people would not be able to social distance in many areas of the Fair it would be dangerous not to require masks both inside and outside.
“I’m surprised they are having it at all,” Elliott said. “I don’t see where many people will go. The rides are being brought in and I don’t see the people who work them cleaning everything after each person gets off a ride.”
Catherine Walls posted on social media that she was a “card-carrying, stock-holding, fan of the Delaware State Fair she could not see how they could keep things safe in the midst of a pandemic.
“Contrary to what non-scientists proclaim, sunshine is not the same intensity as UV sterilization,” Walls said. “Even if it were, it can’t contact surfaces that are in the shade.”
There have been suggestions that the Delaware State Fair choose a different time of year for the celebration due to the weather conditions at the end of July.
“Every year, this fair happens during the hottest, grossest most unbearably humid week of the year,” Nadia Zychal said. “I think the state should consider moving the date to a more reasonably comfortable season. COVID or not, that is why I end up never going.”
Despite those who say they will not go to the Fair, there were quite a few who not only said they planned to attend but did so on opening day.
“Just got home,” Holly Elaine Marie said on the Delaware State Fair Facebook page. “It was hot but fun. All workers had masks on and two-thirds of the people had them on as well. Sanitizer stations everywhere. And every game employee reminded us to sanitize after and before games. It was not busy at all, plenty of space to social distance.”
Donna Bishop agreed after attending the first day, stating that the Fair team had “done a great job” and that she felt safer there than in other places. Kylee Smith said that the grounds were very clean and that the staff did a good job keeping things sanitized as well as reminding people to wear masks when necessary.
“My husband and I have been there two times with our newborn son,” Whitney Clendaniel said. “It’s good to know that staff is taking so many precautions to keep everyone safe. We will definitely be back. It’s not the same and that’s sad, but I’m not going to miss out on a tradition that I’ve had for almost 30 years and passing it down to my kids that hopefully one day they can pass down to their kids.”
The Delaware State Fair runs through Saturday, August 1.