One year after COVID unceremoniously shut down most of the Fulton County Fair it returned with a vengeance.
While attendance records are not yet available, it’s been predicted that one or two records may be set, according to Amy Ambrose, fair marketing and communications. Crowds packed the midway daily, feasting on fair food and taking advantage of the mild weather.
But coronavirus concerns were not completely out of the picture. While the county health department did not see a need for masks on the fairgrounds, wash stations were available at the animal barns and the various fair offices and admission gates were supplied with hand sanitizers and wipes to keep high-touch areas clean. Crews were assigned to routinely disinfect restrooms and drinking fountains, while others kept picnic tables clean in the Hallett Pavilion and behind the Biddle Building.
Ambrose said there was no specific worry about the Delta variant of COVID. She said protocols were put in place throughout the fairgrounds to address COVID and to keep guests safe. “People are welcomed to wear a mask if they wish,” she said.
As of Tuesday, plans for the fair went off with only a slight hitch, Ambrose said. Verizon reception was poor on the fairgrounds, but she said that was expected given the size of the crowds.
She said she was not aware of any public complaints regarding a lack of masking or the fair’s significant number of attendants. “We have been proactive in working with the Fulton County Health Department and communicating to the public,” Ambrose said.
Last year’s fair was reduced to Junior Fair activities. Ambrose said there was no concern that attendance this year would be reduced due to fear of outbreaks.
Fair Board President Dennis Wyse said there was no doubt a full fair would be held this year. The county health department was consulted prior to the fair’s opening, and he said guests were invited to wear masks if they chose, although it was estimated that only a couple per thousand did. Fairgoers also had access to multiple sanitizer stations throughout the grounds.
“You can tell people just had enough, and they’re ready to get out there,” said Wyse, who previously contracted COVID. “Personally, I’m not living in fear, and I’m not living in a bubble. Besides, it’s outside, and that helps a bunch.”
He said discussions with EMTs stationed at the fair revealed “It’s been super quiet.” Only six runs have been recorded.
“The sheriff and the EMTs can’t believe how calm it’s been. We don’t know if people are just tickled to get back to normal, but it’s been unbelievably smooth,” Wyse added.
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.