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Cassia County Fair & Rodeo plans COVID-19 precautions
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Cassia County Fair & Rodeo plans COVID-19 precautions

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BURLEY — Youth will still show off 4-H projects and sell animals, cowboys will wrangle mad bulls or all-terrain vehicles depending on their preferences for animal flesh or steel, rodeo queens will compete for sashes, country crooners will warble and fairgoers will enjoy live entertainment and their favorite deep-fried treats at the Cassia County Fair & Rodeo Aug. 15-22.

But, there will be some changes during the fair this year, including requiring attendees to wear wrist bands indicating they signed a COVID-19 waiver for anyone on the fairgrounds, said Ryan Samples, vice president of the Cassia County Fair Board.

“The county commissioners made the strictest rules,” Samples said.

The Cassia County Commissioners issued a list of safety precautions for fair week that is on the fair website.

The carnival was also cancelled.

“We felt like we couldn’t control the carnival enough to meet the safety standards the commissioners wanted,” Samples said.

Michelle Campbell, who oversees the ticket booth during the fair, said people can go online and click on the tickets icon to access the waiver, and then they can pick up the band at the booth when they arrive.

“It’s nice that people can get the band in advance and they don’t have to stand in line,” Samples said.

Waivers for fairgoers

Fairgoers will have to sign a waiver concerning COVID-19 to gain entrance into the fair this year. Photo taken Thursday in Burley.

People can also sign the waiver and get the band at the fairgrounds.

“If people get rodeo or concert tickets, the waiver is included with those,” Campbell said.

The waiver, Campbell said, is just to make sure the attendee understands that there could be a health risk by attending the fair.

The parade, which starts at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 19, will also be shown on the fair’s Facebook page.

“We don’t want anyone who is nervous to attend the parade to miss out,” Campbell said.

An online vote for spectator’s favorite floats will also be held.

The commissioners’ safety precautions state that there will be no parade hand-outs and candy will not be thrown during the parade.

Social distancing will be required during the parade entries line-up, she said.

Samples said masks for fair and rodeo attendees will be encouraged and mandatory for all fair volunteers.

People should bring their own masks.

“But, masks will be available for people who don’t have them,” said Samples.

The concert this year will be held on Saturday, Aug. 15, and will feature Neil McCoy.

The rodeo, held on two nights, is expected to draw 500 to 600 participants.

“Because so many rodeos were cancelled this year, the cowboys are hunting rodeos,” Samples said. “It may be the best rodeo we’ve ever had.”

Horse racing and the 4-H shows will still be held.

The livestock sale will be limited to buyers only and adults do not have to wear a mask, but the youth will be encouraged to wear masks.

Health screenings will be performed on volunteers, which include a temperature check and questionnaire.

“We thought we’d try and do that for people,” Samples said.

There will be hand sanitizer stations throughout the fair and extra cleaning of the bathrooms, picnic tables and other high-use areas.

“We asked all the vendors not to put any condiments out. If someone wants condiments the vendor will have to put them on. It’s just a small change,” Samples said.

There will be the usual number of vendors and although some pulled out like church groups, others stepped in to take their place.

The Soroptimist International club decided not to run the scone booth this year, but another group will be selling maple bars, he said.

The commercial building is also full of vendors, he said.

The hard costs of the extra virus precautions, which include hand sanitizer, waiver bands and 15,000 face masks, are expected to come in at $10,000, which doesn’t include the extra cleaning labor and supplies.

Samples said the fair board hopes to recoup some of those costs through available grants.

“If you feel you are at risk,” Samples said, “then the fair is not the place to be. We are doing what we can to make people feel safe.”

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