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Statewide carnival event to provide fall fun during ongoing coronavirus pandemic

fair carnival
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The Alabama National Fair will be up and running this year from Oct. 8 to Oct. 17. This will be the second year the statewide event will run despite the ongoing pandemic.

Executive Director Randy Stephenson said he and the fair’s board, members of the local service organization the Kiwanis Club of Montgomery, never considered the possibility of canceling the event.

“We have a board made up of Kiwanis members, and it was never even discussed. Canceling or delaying it this year was never on the table," Stephenson said. "We were committed to our dates this year and we were going forward with it.”

The only issue the fair will experience is its removal of indoor concerts, which bring upwards of 5,000 people in confined and packed spaces. However, there are no less amenities for families to enjoy. There is even an added outdoor show to replace events removed indoors.

Aside from security scanning and routine bag checks, there will be additional coronavirus safety protocols implemented this year. The fair will be routinely sprayed, lines for carnival rides will include 6-foot markers for people to stand and there will still be less than 60 carnival rides. A local ambulance service, Haynes Ambulance, will also open for possible walk-in fairgoers who wish to receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Stephenson said he and the board learned a lot since first operating during the pandemic.

“I guess what we learned was to be thankful for what we have and to, we put in some new protocols, some sanitation protocols, that maybe we haven’t done enough of," he said. "We’re pretty sanitized as it goes being an agricultural event, but we’ve added a few other things and doing a few things that are a little different. But the main thing is to be thankful for what you have.”

The 68th annual fair will continue to fundraise for the Kiwanis Club of Montgomery, an organization known for its charity work in the River Region. Stephenson said he hopes the fair will rack in big this year with upwards of $300,000 to give for the children of Southern Alabama.

It will also feature its 2021 Livestock Expo, which will include cattle, goat, sheep and swine competitions. Stephenson said aside from charity work, the ability for the fair to provide children across the state a chance to show off their passion for agriculture is what makes it impactful to the community.

“Fifty-seven of our 67 counties are represented in our livestock shows, so that gives these kids an opportunity to come and show their animals and do what they do," he said. "They’re not Friday night football players or things of that nature, but this is what they do. And so, this is their chance to come under the lights.”

For more information on ticket information, daily event schedules and parking, please visit the Alabama National Fair’s website, at alnationalfair.org.