For first time in more than a century, Kansas State Fair might not happen
For the first time in more than a century, the state might cancel the Kansas State Fair.
"We have spent countless hours since March, studying the situation, talked to a lot of other fairs. We've studied what other folks are doing," said Kansas State Fair General Manager Robin Jennison.
Right now, a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic is possible and even three months from now there are concerns over large crowds the state fair draws.
If the fair board doesn't cancel the event this year, it could look different. Jennison said face masks would be mandatory in buildings and in the grandstand. But some proposed restrictions could be difficult to enforce, including some people's reluctance to comply with a mask mandate.
Other safety measures if the fair does happen include one-way routes between buildings, encouraging customers to buy tickets online or at Dillons, and more hand-sanitizer stations around the fairgrounds.
Kansas Governor Laura Kelly and the Reno County Health Department will review final details before the board votes on Tuesday (June 30).
Jennison said public safety is the top priority.
Kansas State Fair staff works to finalize plans for the 2020 state fair in Hutchinson, but not without consideration of the continued threat posed by COVID-19.
Before any plans are finalized for the annual event in September, Kansas Governor Laura Kelly and local health officials will review them. Assuming the fair is cleared to go on, the statewide celebration could look different.
The possibility of a "second wave" in the fall highlights concerns over large crowds at the state fair.
Kansas State Fair General Manager Robin Jennison said he is optimistic at least that the fair will happen, but the final decision on that will come in early July.
Jennison said several safety measures are being considered, including one-way routes through buildings, encouraging customers to buy tickets online or remotely and more hand sanitizer stations around the fairgrounds.