Tri-Cities festivals, events to take COVID-19 precautions as cases rise

Local Coronavirus Coverage

(WJHL) – Tri-Cities festival and event organizers plan to take COVID-19 precautions in the coming months as case numbers are on the rise.

Appalachian Fair manager Phil Booher said in just over two weeks the Appalachian Fairgrounds will be alive again. In an average year, the fair brings in about 200,000 people.

“I think people are willing to get out and do things,” Booher said. “This event is basically outside, and we’re trying to follow CDC guidelines.”

Booher’s biggest message to fairgoers is – if you’re sick, stay home. The fairgrounds won’t require masking but will be taking other precautions.

“We’ll be spraying our buildings every day, carnivals will be spraying their rides every day,” Booher said. “So yeah, we’re trying to prepare for it.”

The Appalachian Fair isn’t the only large event gearing up for keeping crowds safe during COVID. Meet the Mountains, a festival focused on outdoor recreation, is doing the same.

“We have a staff member of the health department on our crew, so we’ve got the inside ear on things, but we’re just following along and as soon as they tell us you know there’s a new mandate or there’s a new recommendation we’re going to try our best to follow it,” festival director Samm Keys said.

Following a year of cancellations for the festival and the fair, event organizers said they’re just excited to be back again.

“I’m really happy to be able to see people in person and get to do things with the volunteers that we love so much and with the Meet the Mountains crew,” Keys said.

“It’s huge, I mean this is our main income, but we have events all year long,” Booher said. But you know, we’re able to survive by having the fair.”

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