A low-key state fair

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Good afternoon everyone,

A masked-up low-keyDelaware State Fairgets underway Thursday.

Gone are the flood of press releases and pitches on big-name (country and pop) performers at the 10-day event that always battles heat, humidity, and thunderstorms.

In recent years the Harrington mainstay has drawn sizable crowds and national publicity as one of the best state fairs. It’s quite an accomplishment when you are in the company of giants in Texas and the Midwest.

The Delaware fair does list nearly five-dozen attractions ranging from a circus to a giraffe exhibit and livestock judging.Also, back is the midway.

To some, it came as a surprise that the fair happened at all this year. Most local carnivals, festivals, and other events that draw crowds have been canceled or postponed.

We saw some blowback from organizers of canceled events who suspect the State Fair, thanks to its cozy relationships with public officials and legislators, received favored treatment.

Not so, claim state officials who cite the ability of the fair to limit the number of attendees and the ability to monitor activities, something not possible with a parade or festival.

Attendance is likely to be reduced by the lack of big-name entertainment. Also, a sizable percentage of Delawareans remain cautious, especially with the bad news that continues to pour out of the Carolinas, Florida, and Texas.

As Gov. John Carney notes, he takes about as much heat from those upstaters who think the state reopened too early as he does from the reopen Delaware contingent.

Delaware health officials had been wary about greenlighting the opening of amusement and waterparks, not that Delaware has an overabundance of such things.

So far, few outdoor events have not yet been linked to major outbreaks of Covid-19. None of this means we will see filled stadiums that could lead to an outbreak.

The so-called “super spreader” locations for the virus tend to be bars, meat processing plants, prisons, nursing homes, and other indoor areas where people come in close contact with one another.

In the end, Delaware’s coronavirus numbers are in decent shape and seem to make the fair worth the risk.The fair may also amount to a test of sorts on whether larger events can be held in a safe manner.

Meanwhile, organizers are doubling down on safety. The fair’s website comes with a disclaimer on the risks of coronavirus.

As for masks, coverings will be required indoors and in more crowded areas where social distancing is not possible.

Stay cool everyone. This newsletter returns tomorrow. –Doug Rainey, chief content officer.

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