In August, the North Florida Fair was added to an extended list of canceled events, leaving members of the community disappointed. Executive Director Mark Harvey, along with fair organizers announced that this year they will host a Carnival Food Fair free of charge to all attendees.
The fair will be held from Nov. 6 to Nov. 8, starting at 11 a.m. and ending at 8 p.m..
NFF organizers assure that while they do intend on making it safe for fair goers, there is still much fun to be had. Picnic tables will follow social distancing guidelines and be six feet apart, and those attending are asked to wear a face mask as well.
They have also implemented several other safety precautions for all staff. Vendors are required to wear disposable gloves and face masks while working. Additionally, all staff must wash their hands prior to their shifts, between tasks and frequently during shifts.
Tallahassee Community College Student Getzels Benton says, “I’m an adult with no kids, so I do enjoy the fair but mainly go for the food vendors so there’s definitely a chance I’ll go buy something.”
Harvey assures that there is not going to be any shortage of food, from kettle corn to elephant ears, corn dogs, turkey legs and so much more.
Many fair favorite vendors will be set up and ready to serve come opening weekend, such as A&M Concessions, The Best Around, Bop’s Kettle Corn, Broad Concessions, Cranbury Delights, Belly Busters, LR Foods, Pop’s Kountry Kitchen, Red’s Red Apples, Ross Concessions and Tiki Tea.
The change in plans has many residents, like LaDeja Webster, left appreciating the efforts, but concerned about the children in the community.
“I don’t mind it personally, but I know it’s going to affect the kids having fun because the food is expensive there and kids don’t really go for the food, they go for the rides. What about those kids who’ve never been and wanted to go for the experience? They won’t get that,” says Webster.
Some parents, like Jackson, could agree. While grateful for the efforts, she believes some attractions are better than none.
“I think they could have brought attractions, if not rides, games and other things to bring the people out. [Having] just food won’t bring everybody,” says Jackson.
The NFF staff believe the food option is the best choice, given the virus is highly communicable, and believe enjoyment at this year’s fair is still attainable.
“This is the next best thing because we can do food safely. The rides we aren’t sure we could’ve done safely with social distancing protocols,” said the North Florida
Harvey asserts that the safety of fairgoers and the prevention of the spread of COVID-19 were priority when coming to his decision.