As fairs across the country are cancelled, South Dakota ramps up for two big ones

July 29, 2020

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Organizers of the Sioux Empire Fair in South Dakota say they’re prepared to deal with the coronavirus outbreak when the event kicks off this weekend.

COVID-19 has caused other states, including North Dakota and Minnesota, to cancel their state fairs. But, in South Dakota, the largest fair, the Sioux Empire that typically draws about 300,000 people, and the State Fair made no plans to cancel.

South Dakota’s biggest event, the Sturgis motorcycle rally which drew about 490,000 last year, is also still on.

Sioux Empire Fair CEO Scott Wick told Minnehaha County Commissioners Tuesday that more hand washing stations have been added, about 80 hand sanitizer dispensers have been placed around the fairgrounds and 1 million doses of hand sanitizer are available, the Argus Leader reported.

Wick estimated the fair is operating at about 80%.

Commissioner Cindy Heiberger thanked Wick for moving forward with the fair and said people will be grateful to have something to do outside.

The fair runs runs Saturday through Aug. 8.