With mask use encouraged, Sioux Empire Fair hosts concertgoers

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — A lot of events have been cancelled due to COVID-19, but not the Sioux Empire Fair or Monday night’s concert there, when country act Big & Rich was on the schedule. The COVID-19 pandemic is reality right now, too, and mask use, as well as social distancing, are encouraged at the fair, where you can also find stations with hand sanitizer.

On Monday night KELOLAND News spoke with people planning to head into the Big & Rich show. When we met Bryan Janssen of Parker, S.D., he was wearing a mask. As far as wearing one inside at the concert, that was a maybe.

“I’m going to kind of see how the situation is, the seating and just the amount of people in there, and I won’t be afraid to put it on if I have to,” Janssen said.

COVID-19 had been on his mind.

“You definitely think about it as you drive in and you just kind of see what’s going on and see how the fairgrounds are dealing with it,” Janssen said. “So you gotta keep it on your mind.”

But not everyone here is from nearby, or even the lower 48; Natalie and Raleigh Johnson live in Fairbanks, Alaska. They had been at a wedding in Minnesota.

“We heard there was a fair today, we’re like, we are definitely going to this,” Raleigh Johnson said.

We asked him about COVID-19, too.

Dan Santella: Does that give you pause or hesitation to be at a concert?

“If it did, we would not be here. Like, I can understand people that would be, but … life is about living and having experiences, and just coming from Alaska to experience this, this is yes,” Raleigh Johnson said. “It’s a big yes.”

“Thank you for having a concert, South Dakota, like, thank you so much,” Natalie Johnson said.

On Monday night, there is no shortage of people comfortable enough to be at a fair- even in 2020.

“We encourage people, if you’re comfortable, come to the fair, we’d love to see you,” said Courtney Drenth, director of marketing and public relations with the Sioux Empire Fair. “If not, we really hope to see you next year.”

The fair lasts through Saturday.

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