KALISPELL — An annual Northwest Montana summertime tradition will continue, but there will be some changes due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Northwest Montana Fair Commissioners have voted to proceed with Northwest Montana Fair & Rodeo which is set for Aug. 19 to Aug. 23 at the Flathead County Fairgrounds in Kalispell.
The commissioners made the decision after receiving input from several stakeholders, including 4-H groups, FFA participants, the Flathead City/County Health Department and others, according to a news release.
The event will look a little different this year as COVID-19 concerns have prompted organizers to make several modifications to operations.
Social distancing measures will be in place throughout the fairgrounds and it's being "strongly recommending" that visitors, vendors and exhibitors wear masks, the news release states.
Workers who are handling food and beverage or are in close contact with guests are required to wear masks.
“We welcome everyone’s participation and ask for help as we implement the changes that we feel are necessary to safely host this year’s fair,” Board Chairman Sam Nunnally said.
Additional protective measures include extensive cleaning and sanitization of carnival rides, fair buildings, tables, chairs and other surfaces.
“The health and safety of the community, our participants and guests, is and always will be the highest priority in producing the fair,” Nunnally said. “We continue to work closely with a variety of local and national public health agencies and are following the guidelines provided by the Flathead City/County Health Department, Montana Directives and Center for Disease Control."
"Fair staff and officials will continue to collaborate with these expert partners, watch for any new developments around COVID-19 that would impact the fair operation, and make modifications accordingly," Nunnally continued.
This year marks the 119th annual fair and will feature three nights of PRCA Rodeo, a concert by Platinum country music artist Chris Janson, a demolition derby, carnival rides and hundreds of exhibits.
Click here for more information about the 2020 Northwest Montana Fair & Rodeo.