Following the Minnesota State Fair’s failure to implement any mandated COVID-19 measures, several vendors have decided to not attend at all out of safety concerns.
Alpha News reported last week that WCCO Radio made the decision to not broadcast live from the fair, stating that the fair “chose the ‘honor system,’ and for our decision-makers, it is not enough to feel comfortable.”
Shortly after WCCO made their announcement, Education Minnesota decided not to attend the state fair either, citing “health and safety concern[s].”
Grandstand artist Low Cut Connie also made the decision to back out of the fair.
“Now that I understand that there will be no mask or vaccine mandate in place for the event, I don’t feel comfortable moving forward with this show,” the artist stated in a tweet.
The Heavy Table, a news site dedicated to telling stories and sharing reviews about Upper Midwest food and drink, is also passing on the 2021 fair. The organization stated their reason is that “no effort to enforce masking, distancing, vaccination, attendance limits or anything whatsoever” has been made on the part of the state fair organizers.
“There is a significant portion of the American population that regards doing the right thing as refusing to mask, refusing to vaccinate, and refusing to self-isolate even when sick,” The Heavy Table’s announcement reads.
The Minnesota State Fair released guidance that strongly urges attendees “to wear a mask.” Fair organizers are asking “that those who attend do so because they are willing to follow our health guidance — not because it’s mandated, but because it’s the right thing to do.”
KARE 11 reported this week that the total number of vendors for this year’s state fair sits at around 975, only 25 short of the yearly average of around 1,000. Despite around 150 pulling out over the past year for various reasons, the fair also recently added approximately 70 new vendors.
The absence of a mask or vaccine requirement is not the only reason for vendors deciding to opt out of the 2021 state fair. Many vendors have cited a lack of employees, forcing them to sit out of the fair this year.
Megan Olson is a 2020 graduate of the University of Minnesota with degrees in political science and history. She works in public affairs in addition to serving on the Legislative Advisory Council for School District 196. She is also on the school board for FIT academy, a charter school in Apple Valley.