MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - We are now midway through the Alabama National Fair in Montgomery. Fair leaders knew this year’s event would be a challenging one thanks to the pandemic.
In the shadow of a global pandemic, Randy Stephenson has no regrets putting on the Alabama National Fair. Organizers knew it would be a challenge and different this year.
“By having the fair we not only have the opportunity to raise some money, we’re also giving people and outlet in a safe way to do it. We’re proud of what we’re doing," said Stephenson, who is the Alabama National Fair director.
30% smaller with all entertainment cancelled inside the coliseum, there is no doubt COVID-19 has left its calling card on the yearly event that’s spanned decades. This is the 67th year.
“To be diligent on we present what we’re doing and follow what the CDC regulations are. We’ve invested a lot into sanitizing and disinfectants," said Stephenson.
The Alabama National Fair had its best year 14 years ago, a record 275,000 people turned out and $275,000 raised for the Kiwanis Club of Montgomery.
So far, 25,000 visitors have attended the fair this year, far below than during normal times. But all things considered, Stephenson is satisfied.
“So we feel good about it," he said.
Behind the scenes there were countless discussions whether to even have the fair in light of the pandemic. The board decided to plunge ahead during a meeting in May.
“Unless there was a problem and the numbers continue to grow and get out of control, we were going to go through with this to see what we can do to help this community," Stephenson said.
So far, so good; no reports of any positive COVID-19 tests; only fun and games for a few thousands.
Stephenson says it’s too early to determine how much money will be raised for the Kiwanis Club. The club uses distributes the funds to local charities.
Masks are required at the fair.