Three of Florida's largest annual fairs are planning to open in 2021 as scheduled, with COVID-19 related safety precautions of course.
On Tuesday, the South Florida Fair in West Palm Beach announced its plans to open as scheduled, January 15-31. The fair will require all vendors and attendees to wear face coverings and will be adding additional hand washing and sanitizing stations throughout the midway. More space will be added between rides, attractions, and vendors to accommodate social distancing, and indoor activities will be limited. The fair's entertainment tent has been converted to an outdoor concert area. "The guidelines have shown that being outdoors is a much better option than being inside," fair chief executive Vicki Chouris said.
There will be a greater focus on outdoor entertainment including strolling acts throughout the grounds. Indoor activities such as ice skating will be limited in time. The fair will also eliminate daily parades to help maintain social distancing between guests. "That was one of the first decisions we made," said Chouris.
The fair has also modified some of its promotions including eliminating the popular $2 Tuesdays promotion, which historically drew a large crowd. The fair will be offering a power pass which includes unlimited rides and admission for $25 valid for use on weekdays. In the past, customers could cash in on advance sale tickets through Publix stores or the fairs web site. In 2021, advance sale tickets will be available only through the fairs web site through January 14.
In Plant City, the Florida Strawberry Festival plans to hold its fair March 4-14 as scheduled. This week, the fair made the decision to cancel headline entertainment in an effort to maintain proper social distance between guests. In 2020, the fair featured sold-out shows by Rascal Flatts and Reba McEntire. All other fair entertainment, food vendors, livestock shows, rides and attractions are on as originally planned.
“We are diligently planning to ensure visitors to the 2021 festival can have a safe and fun experience with their families just like they have for 85 years,” said Florida Strawberry Festival President Paul Davis. “This year, we believe it is in the best interest of everyone, guests and entertainers, to not have patrons sitting shoulder to shoulder for an extended period of time.”
The festival plans on hosting more strolling acts throughout the grounds, a trend we have seen at fairs such as the Delaware State Fair, Georgia State Fair, and Alabama National Fair this year.
In nearby Tampa, the Florida State Fair is planning to hold its annual fair February 11-21, 2021 as originally scheduled. The fair is currently seeking vendors for the 2021 event.
“The Florida State Fair looks forward to welcoming back our midway, youth in agriculture, vendors and concessionaires in doing what we all do best, putting smiles on patrons and reuniting families with those whom love what they do every single day,” said Cheryl Flood, Executive Director of the Florida State Fair.
“We recognize this fair may look and feel different, but we are an industry that will overcome and adapt to be stronger than we were before while always keeping safety at the forefront of entertaining,” Flood added.
Both the Florida State Fair and South Florida Fair's midways are provided by Wade Shows, who developed a successful COVID-19 mitigation strategy which was successfully implemented at the Delaware State Fair, Ozark Empire Fair, and Alabama National Fair.
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