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Rowan County Fair makes pandemic return Friday with COVID-19 protocols in place

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — Rowan County Fair organizers say attendees should keep “one cow length” between one another when the 60th annual fair begins Friday.

After taking a hiatus in 2020 due to the pandemic and with stricter COVID-19 protocols in place, the Rowan County Fair has returned and will feature most of its normal events. Masks are not required. They are strongly encouraged, said Fair Manager Johnny Love.

All food vendors and rides will have sanitizing stations near them, he added. All events will take place outdoors. However, attendees will need to walk through a building when entering the fairgrounds, Love said.

A normal fair features up to 26 different rides, but Love said a few will not be set up this year because they require close contact. Additionally, both the magic show and the Stardust Circus Thrill by Glen Yost will be featured nightly.

This year’s fair comes as other annual events, including the Cheerwine Festival and Pops at the Post, have been canceled due to the increasing severity of COVID-19 transmission and infection in Rowan County. Love said organizers are doing “everything we can” to have a safe fair that provides “clean, family fun.”

“Last year, the governor made the decision for us,” Love said. “We felt that if everyone else in the state could be open and they could have 70,000 people at the Panthers stadium, then we should be able to have a fair safely. We’re doing everything we can to keep things safe. But we also know a lot of people are ready to get out and we’re giving them that opportunity with the fair.”

The barn will be open this year, but it will not feature the petting zoo. The barn will instead include dairy cows, pigs, chicks, hens and other livestock for families and children to walk through the barn and view in hopes of learning a few things, said Agricultural and Barn Coordinator David Correll. Additionally, local Future Farmers of America, or FFA, groups will still host sheep, goat and cow shows for children.

“Sometimes, that’s the only time the children get to see these animals,” Correll said.

Love said organizers stress social distancing while at the fair. If attendees can remember to stay “one cow” from each other, they will be properly social distancing, Correll said.

The fair will operate from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $6 per person, but only $3 for senior adults. Children below 3 feet are eligible for free admission. Wristbands will be available each day for a cost of $25. The fair will also have “car load night” on Monday, where up to seven people in a car can pay a total of $40 and receive entry into the fair and wristbands for all.

The fairground is located at 1560 Julian Road.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246.

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