Washington State Fair opens Friday with new health, face mask protocols

The hours are counting down for the return of the Washington State Fair. Doors open to the public Friday, but it won’t be the same fair people might remember. 

This year, there are fewer attractions and vendors in an effort to increase social distancing. Plus, face coverings are required for both indoor and outdoor attractions. 

Law enforcement will have a presence just like before, but fair officials say police won’t be enforcing the mandate. Instead, that job is going to be handled by fair security.

This year, the Washington State Fair is all about embracing the new. The Wildcat Rollercoaster is one new attraction at the fair this year. The wild ride has been revamped for a new year. 

"We’re ready to welcome people back," said Washington State Fair spokesperson Stacy Van Horne.

RELATED: Masks to be required for all, both indoors and outdoors, at 2021 Washington State Fair

Also new this year are the addition of Clydesdale horses and food vendors, including one focusing on meatballs. 

"This is the biggest fair, we’re thrilled to be here," said Manic Meatballs owner Carrie Stalder.

Her food truck is new at the fair this year. Gearing up to serve crowds at the fairgrounds was a new challenge. 

"Very nerve-wracking," Stalder said.  

Also new in 2021, more hand washing stations will be scattered on the fairgrounds. Rides and other spaces will be under new cleaning protocols

"We don’t want this to be a tumultuous situation," said Van Horne. "We want people to come and have fun, we are so glad to be back. We know this is a year we aren’t going to make everybody happy."

Those planning to attend the fair will not be required to show proof of vaccination. Anyone who forgets to bring a facemask has to prove vaccination status to get into the fair. If you forget a mask, the fair will be handing them out.

However, if COVID outbreaks trace back to the fair, the county health officer has the authority to shut its doors. 

RELATED: Washington fairgrounds prepare for crowds and COVID mitigation

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