ABILENE, TX — Back in July the organizers of the West Texas Fair and Rodeo announced they would not cancel the event even as coronavirus remains constant in Taylor County.
Accordig to KTXS, in response to the social distancing guidelines recommended by health experts, the event will kick off a week earlier than usual. On average the event attracts more than 120,000 attendees.
"I’m very excited to have the West Texas Fair & Rodeo." said Rochelle Johnson, Taylor County Expo Center's General Manager. "Obviously with COVID-19, we are having to make some major adjustments."
The event usually lasts 10 days, but by extending the event they will be able to accommodate the influx of participants and visitors.
Shifting dates for livestock shows was one of the first adjustments made to the event.
“We spread out our livestock shows in order to have more room in the barn, allowing people to social distance," said Johnson.
Across Texas cities, fairs have been canceled in response to the pandemic and according to organizers, this is good news for the West Texas Fair & Rodeo.
“Some rides that have gone to Houston or to the State Fair of Texas will actually be here at our carnival this year," said Johnson.
According to Johnson, they are expecting a lower turn out in attendance even with the extended event and social distancing measures put in place.
“There is gonna be somewhat of a less revenue bottom line for the fair, but again — it’s better than no revenue," said Johnson.
Johnson hopes that by people attending the fair and rodeo it will be a sign that business is going back to normal.
"It’s in our blood, and I want people to come out here and enjoy it," said Johnson.
The following schedule has been released:
- Sept. 4-7: Carnival, free admission to grounds (Special early carnival)
- Sept. 10: Sneak-a-peek, free admission to grounds
- Sept. 11-19: Regular carnival schedule, 5 p.m. on weekdays, 1 p.m. on weekends
- Sept. 11-19: Exhibits and vendors open. Gates open at 4 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on weekends
- Sept. 11-12 and 17-1: Rodeo
- Sept. 14: Bulls Night Out