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Florida State Fair Returns: Is it COVID-19 Safe?

By Jolie Prins

The Florida State Fair is here at the Florida State Fairgrounds from Thursday, April 22 to Sunday, May 2.

Usually, this comes about not in the Springtime, but this year is here to stay.

With the fair already being postponed from February 6th to now, everyone is excited to go to the biggest fair in Florida. 

Maybe a little too excited…

The fairgrounds usually get flooded with people as the night progresses. 

Whether it is people being shoulder to shoulder or worrying about walking over someone when you just want to go get a corn dog, you need to feel comfortable in the environment you are in. 

Personally, I love the fair. It was my favorite thing to go to when I moved to Tampa. The atmosphere, the food, the rides, the games, I loved it all. But when I went to this one, I felt uncomfortable with how packed it was. 

Nobody was wearing a mask, and everyone was shoulder to shoulder, whether it was waiting for a ride or to get the good fair food they have been waiting for. 

There is no capacity limit on how many people are allowed to enter the fair. This is what brought this issue to my attention. 

This usually might scare a lot of people off from going to the fair. The people who attend the fair have to decide whether they want to attend a highly packed environment.

“When I moved to Tampa my freshman year, I heard about the Florida State Fair, and I fell in love with it and have gone every year since,” said Nick Ramerez, a senior marketing major. “But this year, I heard of how full it is, and with me going home soon to see my parents, I do not think it is the best idea.”

There have been many more talks going around campus on both sides, whether students did not care and still went, or students did not think it was the best of all ideas.

The Florida State Fair has been around since 1904, so the fair can be a yearly tradition to many families and for memories to be made for a lifetime. However, this tradition can be changed and not for good. 

“I’ve lived in Tampa my whole life, and ever since I could remember, I have gone to the fair with my family every year,” said Julie Anderson, Junior communications major. “It has been a tradition for my family since my grandparents took my parents since they were kids, but this year the tradition has finally been broken since COVID struck.”

For many, COVID is already hard enough on people’s lives, and the fair is an excuse to escape from reality and to be able to enjoy some greasy fried Oreos and ride the Zipper. 

But now, this has only made it harder for people to enjoy an excellent experience for everyone. 

The fair is supposed to be a place to enjoy a great night filled with food, games, and rides and not have to worry about much. But COVID has changed that. You always have to worry about the person you bump into has it or not. 

Or just the anxieties of all of these people around you with barely any social distancing.

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