State Fair Sunday 1

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A scaled-back proposal for the Kentucky State Fair is moving forward after planners sent their guidelines for the August event to the state fair board on Tuesday.

The board’s fair committee approved a draft plan that calls for sweeping changes in the age of COVID-19, including wider aisles, requiring masks for vendors and livestock participants, and reducing occupancy in some areas by more than 80%.

The full board is scheduled to take up the plan at its meeting Thursday. If approved, it would be sent to Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration for a decision by mid-June, fair officials said.

The full contents of the plan have not been made public, but the fair committee has released some of the highlights. Among them: Only people with credentials would be allowed in Broadbent Arena, while no spectators would be permitted inside Freedom Hall for the World’s Championship Horse Show.

Only trainers and media would be let into Freedom Hall’s upper concourse, reducing the capacity to about 310 people.

Also for the Saddlebred show, fair officials plan to no longer let stalls serve as living quarters. Barns and stalls also would not be able to host social gatherings. The show’s judges will be required to wear masks; large show classes will be limited.

Outdoor concerts still would happen, but the concert area would be reconfigured to meet social distancing rules. Seating would be extended out, with six-foot rows and 10-foot cross aisles that could be adjusted.

There would also be additional portable toilets, hand sanitizing stations, barriers at transaction points and wider spaces between cattle stalls, among a raft of other measures, including a later 2 p.m. start time.

“Without a plan, without a comprehensive plan such as this, we couldn’t have a fair and we wouldn’t want to have a fair,” said Joe Goggin, chair of the fair board’s fair board committee. “This plan sets the road map. It’s the blueprint for how we can have a fair thoughtfully this year in Kentucky – that’s the goal.”

More than 589,000 people visited the fair in 2019. The event is scheduled for August 20-30 at the Kentucky Exposition Center.

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