TWIN FALLS COUNTY, Idaho — The Twin Falls County Fair is heading back to the fairgrounds next month to mark the end of summer. This year's theme is "Let the Good Times Grow." While this year will feature changes, organizers are still planning for plenty of fun.
Due to COVID-19, safety is the priority. Organizers plan to have hand sanitizer stations throughout the grounds and are heavily encouraging face masks but not requiring them.
"We're going to have a lot of our social distancing signs up, and directional signs for our emergency buildings. We'll have a lot of handwashing stations, and we got disinfecting opportunities at all the picnic areas," said John Pitz, the Twin Falls County Fair manager.
Common areas of the grounds will also be cleaned regularly, but the main focus will be on social distancing at the fair. Specific activities have been canceled where social distancing can't be followed, such as the arts, photography, kitchen, and pantry events. There will also be fewer merchants and a reduced number of rides to allow more space for attendees.
The Twin Falls County Fair is one of the only fairs in the state that will host a carnival. Typically, the grounds have at least 30 rides, but this year, they'll make space for 20 to 25. Rides will also be cleaned and sanitized between each turn.
Despite certain events being canceled and others having to change how they operate, one of the main events will continue. The rodeo will take place in the arena provided at the fairgrounds. They will admit only half of the typically allotted number of people into the venue to allow for proper distancing, which will be nearly 1,500.
Although tickets will be limited for the rodeo, tickets for the fair will not have a limit. However, people are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance so that the lines will not be too full at the front gate.
"Either online, or through the fair's office or call us whatever they want to do. The more we can get people to shuttle through the gate without stopping to pay or stopping to run their credit card, the shorter the lines become at our main gate," said Pitz.
There is no plan to cancel or postpone the fair, only if the number of hospitalizations increases within the local area. The fair runs from September 2 to September 7.