The Sowega Fair has been open for several days now and over 3,000 folks from all over Georgia and neighboring states have already visited.
“Well, we wanted to get out the house and go and have some fun because he’s in the house because of home schooling so this a good way to get out of the house and have some fun,” Sharon Cooke said.
In the past, the fair has been at the Sumter County fairgrounds, but not this year. Sumter County denied the organizers access to the fairgrounds. Mayor Barry Blount says being that we are in the middle of a pandemic, it’s not the perfect time to have a fair.
“I have encouraged people if they do go to wear a mask and you know maintain the six feet social distancing, but I’ve also encouraged people just not to go to the fair this year because we just hate to see the fair come to town and when it leaves in a couple of weeks after a number of our COVID cases begins to rise,” Mayor Blount said.
Unable to use the fairgrounds, the fair is now being held on private property. Andrew Stringfellow says he understands the mayor’s concerns, but believes his team is going the extra mile to keep everyone safe.
“As you can see we have our masks on, we temperature check everyone before they come in and then after that we have our hand sanitizing stations, we have our gloves and everything on. So, we make sure everything is sanitized and wiped down so that way you have you’re very safe when you get here,” Stringfellow said.
Rides are also cleaned after every session and they’re operating at a limited capacity for social distancing. Mayor Blount says even with safety measures in place he finds it hard to make sure everyone is following the rules.
“I just don’t see how anybody can safely go to a fair with that many people and maintain the six feet social distancing. While we don’t have a mask mandate here, I would encourage people to wear a mask if they go, but obviously some people won’t wear a mask,”Mayor Blount said.
Stringfellow says having the fair is also bringing jobs to many people that have been out of work. He says a lot of the vendors and staff members are local and for many of them this is their first gig in months.
The fair will be in town until the 13th.