BLACKFOOT -- Posters hanging throughout the Eastern Idaho State Fairgrounds have a simple message featuring the fair's mascot, "Happy," as a full fair returns in 2021, starting Friday.
With a rise in COVID-19 cases throughout the region over the last few weeks, the fair has a health message if people want to enjoy the fair: "Be Safe," "Be Respectful," "Be Smart," "Be Healthy," and "Be Happy."
A sign on the front desk of the main office at the fairgrounds gives the health message in more detail for the fair, which occurred on a limited basis in 2020 due to the pandemic.
"We encourage all fairgoers to first evaluate their own potential risk of exposure to COVID-19 before visiting the Eastern Idaho State Fair, knowing that vaccines remain the best protection from COVID-19," the sign reads.
"This year, we will hold most of our events outdoors and in open-air pavilions, where the transmission of COVID-19 is more limited."
Fair officials are recommending that fairgoers wear masks, practice physical distancing, and wash hands regularly.
The sign covers the four areas mentioned in the poster:
- Be Safe: "Stay with your immediate family and friends groups and be mindful of your proximity to others."
- Be Smart: "Make choices that are important for your health and safety."
- Be Respectful: "The Fair is a very well attended event that requires all of us to be good neighbors as we share in the fun of the Fair. Be respectful of the choices others are making to attend the Fair safely."
- Be Healthy: "Many outdoor events have been happening throughout Idaho and the region showing that outdoor events can occur and not significantly spread COVID. The most important thing people should know is that they should not attend the Fair if they show any signs of being sick."
Bingham County is included in counties showing an upswing in COVID cases over the past several weeks, according to Southeastern Idaho Public Health numbers. For the week of July 27-Aug. 2 in the county, there were 12 new confirmed cases, 19 new probable for 31 total with one death. For the week of Aug. 10–Aug. 16 it was 21 new confirmed, 20 new probable for 41 total and zero deaths. For the week of Aug. 17–Aug. 23 it was 34 new confirmed, 36 new probable for 70 total and no deaths. For the week of Aug. 24–Aug. 30 it was 38 new confirmed, 66 new probable for 104 total and no deaths.
Bannock County has been more than doubling and at times quadrupling Bingham County's numbers in that time, according to SIPH statistics.
Meanwhile, the fairgrounds was buzzing with activity in preparation for the fair Tuesday with Butler Amusements setting up rides, food booths being set up and cleaned, vendors getting ready, signs and displays popping up, and items being brought in to be judged.