State Fair Concerns and Hopes


The State Fair is a staple in North Carolina that many enjoy and attend every year. The pandemic derailed State Fair plans in 2020, but in 2021, the State Fair is back and better than ever. But is it safe and will people come?

State Fair Health Guidelines 

NC State Fair tickets went on sale on October 6, and with those tickets, they released COVID-19 guidelines for the fair. 

  • No proof of vaccination is necessary
  • No proof of a negative COVID test is necessary 
  • No mask mandate enforced, but it is urged

Leesville Students’ Reactions 

Kyndall Winecoff, a junior at Leesville, thinks there should be a mask mandate. “We can’t ignore the fact that there’s a pandemic going on,” said Winecoff, via text. But, Winecoff thinks people wouldn’t have worn the masks if there was a mandate, and she still plans on going to the fair.

Cassidy Farrell, a junior, agrees with Winecoff about the mask mandate and plans to attend the fair. “At this point, it’ll be up to each individual to keep themselves safe,” typed Farrell.

Who’s Going and Not Going to the Fair? 

According to the New York Times, cases, deaths, and hospitalizations in North Carolina have decreased in the past few weeks and half of the population is fully vaccinated. 

Many Leesville students expressed their excitement to go to the fair because they want to have fun at the fair as they did in years past.

Always Fair Goers

Aditi Yerra with her friend at the State Fair in 2019. Here she is on the State Fair Flyer that overlooks the fair. (Photo used by permission of Aditi Yerra)

Aditi Yerra, a senior, is looking forward to the fair. “It’s fun and I want to go with my friends and we went two years ago before COVID, and it was really fun,” said Yerra. 

Last year when the State Fair held a drive-thru fair food event, Yerra didn’t go because she didn’t trust the people who handled the food due to the pandemic. But, she’s changed her mind for this year. 

“I think this year I’m just tired of everything,” said Yerra. “If I go to school, and I’m like doing everything, at this point I don’t think [the fair] will get in the way.”

Yerra also cites her full vaccination status as another reason why she feels safe enough to go to the State Fair. 

Gabi Batista, a sophomore at Leesville, says she’s going to the state fair because it’s a tradition with her family and friends. “[I was hesitant] because there are people who don’t care about COVID,” said Batista via Instagram. 

Anderson Fox, a junior, agrees with Batista about going to the fair because of tradition. “It is a part of fall for us,” said Fox via direct messaging. 

Not This Year

Brooke Dickinson with her mother and grandmother at the State Fair in 2019. Dickinson loves the State Fair so much she went three times that year. (Used by permission of Brooke Dickinson)

Brooke Dickinson, junior, always goes to the fair, but not this year. “I know that there will be minimal mask usage and minimal sanitizing between people,” said Dickinson via Instagram.

The pandemic has also opened up Dickinson’s eyes about the health concerns about the fair. “Enough people get sick on rides that there’s likely residue of sickness lingering over the fairgrounds,” said Dickinson. 

“Now experiencing (and still being in) a pandemic, it feels easier to suppress my love for the fair. In order to focus on the unhygienic nature of it.” 

“I probably will go back to the fair eventually,” said Dickinson. “But, I might just have to bring a gallon of sanitizer with me. 

Nia Quigley, junior, is also fearful of going to the fair for the same reasons as Dickinson. “I want to go, but I don’t think it’s worth it,” Quigley said over text. “I’m sure it’ll cause the cases to spike.” 

Quigley also doesn’t think it’s the right time for the fair. “A lot of us want life to get back to normal so badly to the point we’re forgetting that the pandemic isn’t over,” said Quigley.

“Obviously the state fair is great, but I think I can live without it for another year until things seem more stable,” said Quigley.

With conflicting feelings due to the fair guidelines, pandemic, and trust of others, it will be fascinating to see the turnout of the NC State Fair this year. The fair will be from October 14-24, 2021 at the State Fairgrounds on 4285 Trinity Road in Raleigh. 


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