Delaware State Fair to go on with precautions in place

HARRINGTON — Saying that more work has been put into this year’s Delaware State Fair than last year’s 100th anniversary edition, fair assistant general manager Danny Aguilar went through the changes and restrictions that will take place for the 2020 event during a Facebook Live session Wednesday afternoon.

Set for July 23-Aug. 1 in Harrington, the fair will indeed go on but with social distancing and other guidelines in effect.

As previously announced, concerts at the M&T Grandstand have been canceled.

Mr. Aguilar explained Wednesday that many artists booked, including country stars Hank Williams Jr. and Dierks Bentley, contemporary Christian artist TobyMac and comedian Jim Gaffigan, have canceled their tours for the summer anyway and also that the grandstand area is not set up for the social distancing needed to put on such massive shows.

Gate admissions for the fair will be reduced for much of the day. Free admission will be in effect from 8 to 11 a.m.; half price from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and then full price of $9 for adults and $4 for children will be charged from 4 p.m. until close.

Guests are encouraged to buy their tickets online at DelawareStateFair.com in order to utilize the high-speed lane and eliminate long lines.

There will be no discount days this year. The annual food drive day will take place July 27.

Face coverings will be required in certain areas of the fair.

“If you are outside and purchasing food and if you can maintain social distancing at a table, we’re suggesting that you wear a mask but it’s not required,” Mr. Aguilar said.

“If you want to go into a permanent building, such as the Quillen Arena, Exhibit Hall, Dover Building, Delaware Building, we will require a facial covering. If you go into a Walmart or a Food Lion, it is the same requirement there.”

He added that fair employees will be situated at building entrances to remind guests of the face mask rules and to count people coming in and out due to the decreased occupancy rules, which is currently at 60% during Phase 2. If Phase 3 goes into effect before the fair starts, then occupancy will increase.

Livestock shows will take place on the grounds of the fair, although there will be a revised schedule taking place at the New Castle and Kent barns. Different types of animals will be grouped together during certain days of the fair.

The number of persons allowed in the facilities to watch the shows will be restricted; however a number of shows will be livestreamed on the fair’s website.

Although there will be no concerts in the grandstand, Mr. Aguilar said Wednesday that the fair has increased its amount of grounds entertainment.

This year that will include country singer Adam Calvert, the Disconnected K-9s, Roberto the Magnificent and old favorites such as Jurassic Adventures, Racing Pigs and Vocal Trash.

This year’s circus will be an open-air event instead of under the big top.

“We want plenty of fresh air going through. We want folks to be able to enjoy the circus from afar and also around the show ring. We are going to have bleachers. We are going to be practicing social distancing but we’re asking folks to queue a little earlier. We’ll do a restricted number of people going into the circus area,” Mr. Aguilar said.

Events, such as the nightly circus, goat yoga, demolition derby and the Kids’ Health Day, have been canceled this year.

“We looked at the parade route. We plan to have social distancing in the queues for the food. So we did not feel safe having a parade go through the streets and forcing people to move away from the queues and things like that,” Mr. Aguilar said.

The carnival will take place with a slightly reduced number of rides to allow more room for social distancing and increased cleaning and maintaining of the rides themselves.

Mr. Aguilar said more information on the carnival should be available on the fair’s website in the next week or so.

He said cleaning and sanitizing of the fair grounds will be a must through the fair days.

“We’ve tripled our workforce. We’re gonna have more folks out there attending to the high-touch areas. But really it’s more face-to -face interaction that we just need to be mindful of. We are going to have over 75 hand-sanitizing stations so we’ve doubled or tripled the numbers there,” Mr. Aguilar said.

“We’ve added additional warm water washing stations and those will be strategically placed around livestock buildings because we want to make sure if anyone’s interacting with livestock or animals, that they wash their hands, but with most importantly, warm water.”

Mr. Aguilar said fever scans will be taken of fair employees but not of fair patrons.

However, it is highly recommended that those with a fever of above 100.4 and who are exhibiting any of the other symptoms related to the coronavirus, such as cough, aches, sore throat or shortness of breath, that they not attend this year’s fair.

“We love you. But stay home and come back another time,” Mr. Aguilar said.

An entire COVID-19 section is found on the Delaware State Fair’s website at DelawareStateFair.com.