DALLAS (NewsNation Now) — The State Fair of Texas kicked off on Friday, one year after the event was scaled back due to the the COVID-19 pandemic.
“After quarantine, it’s fun to be able to get out and be with all people from Texas,” said Amira Kamara, an attendee.
Currently in it’s 135th year, the longest running fair in the country has returned with some new rules. Attendees must wear masks indoors and social distance. Sharing food items is also discouraged.
For many people, this is the biggest crowd they’ve been a part of since the last time they attended in 2019.
“This whole pandemic has really messed everything up,” said Steve Edwards, an annual state fair attendee. “But you muddle through, you make adjustments!”
“It’s good to have the atmosphere with your friends and your family, there’s nothing better,” said Harold Kamara. “I’ve been going my whole life.”
Last season, COVID-19 all but canceled the event. In the name of safety, the state fair went drive-through and brought in a fraction of the 2.5 million visitors who typically attend.
Before the pandemic, the monthlong event brought in $400 million dollars a year.
“Last year, the state fair itself as a nonprofit organization — we lost nearly $20 million dollars by not having the State Fair of Texas,” said Karissa Condoianias, the senior VP of public relations at State Fair of Texas.
For those who aren’t sure whether they feel comfortable coming this year, 80% of the fair is outdoors and if you come on a weekday, it will be less crowded and less expensive.