Cullman Lions prepping for Cullman County Fair

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The Cullman County Fairgrounds are being prepped now for the Cullman County Fair, which will open Thursday, Oct. 8, 2020. (Nick Griffin for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – The Cullman County Fair is set to open in two weeks, and the Cullman Lions Club is busy making final preparations. The fair will open at 5 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 8 and run through Oct. 17.

Cullman County Fair Association President and Cullman Lion Charlie Childers spoke with The Tribune to give an update on what guests can expect.

According to the Fair’s website, “To ensure the health of our valued patrons and neighbors in Cullman County, we are taking extra precautions to safeguard the safety of our visitors and supporting staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.  Our intent is to conduct the 2020 Fair in full compliance with public health directives including masks and social distancing.  There is a risk of contracting Covid-19 at any public gathering; by attending the Fair you and your guests voluntarily assume any risk to exposure and agree to hold neither the Cullman County Fair nor Kissel Entertainment liable for any illness. Regretfully, we have cancelled Senior Day and the Baked Goods exhibition including King/Queen of the Kitchen.  We are also limiting non-livestock exhibitors to a total of 3 exhibits.  For example you may enter 1 photograph, 1 sweater and 1 pumpkin.  Livestock exhibits, which are held outdoors, will continue as before.  We hope to return to a “regular” Fair next year.  Please stay safe and have a fun time.”

However, the fair schedule is jam packed with exciting activities and events.

“We will continue on the same path of whatever the CDC guidelines are at that time,” said Childers. “I am sure Governor (Kay) Ivey will announce something next week regarding October.”

The state’s Safer at Home Order is set to expired Oct. 2, a day before the Cullman County Fair Parade, but few expect Ivey to let the order expire completely.

“We are still not letting people throw out candy or any handouts at the fair parade,” Childers continued. The City (of Cullman) and The Cullman Tribune have worked that out to give out candy to all the kids,” Childers said. (In a partnership between the City and The Tribune, a “Candy Brigade” will travel the route ahead of the parade, passing out prepackaged (by gloved, masked and sanitized volunteers) bags of candy to children.)

Parade participants must be pre-registered this year. Childers stressed that the Fair Association will strictly adhere to this policy.

Another change is the limited capacity at the Coca-Cola Theatre at the fairgrounds. Childers said he is confident the limited capacity will only affect the Cullman County Fair Queen Pageant.

He said, “You have to have a ticket for a seat in the theater that night. Those tickets are given to the Fair Queens to give out as they will each have the same amount of seats for each school.”

The Cullman County Fair Queen Pageant is scheduled for Tuesday, Oct. 13 at 7 p.m.

This year, fair guest will have a couple of thrilling new side shows to enjoy. Get ready for the trapeze show and the Globe of Death!

Childers explained, “We have a trapeze act that will perform two or three times a day. We also have the Globe of Death, which is the motorcycles that ride inside the ball. I’ve seen that and it’s a neat little deal.”

Weather-permitting, the side shows will perform several times a day each day.

Fairgoers will also notice some major changes to the Lions’ concession area. In preparation for this year’s fair, the Lions have been working hard completely renovating the concession stand.

“It’s been COMPLETELY redone,” said Childers. “We have had to change over from fountain drinks to bottle drinks. Coca-Cola is our sponsor and that was the way they wanted to go. We’ve had to add an addition onto it to put the coolers in and then we actually redid the inside with new flooring, walls and everything.”

Credit cards will be taken at the gates and at the office this year, making entry and registration more convenient. All-in-One Passes are on sale now at Peoples Bank locations and at the fair office. The passes are $22 and include admission and unlimited rides. Admission to the fair is $7. Kissel Entertainment will also accept credit cards for ticket purchases.

The Cullman County Fair Parade will take place Saturday, Oct. 3 at 2 p.m. The route will begin at First Baptist Church and proceed north along U.S. Highway 31 to McGriff Tire. Registration for the parade is $20 (cash or check) and ends Wednesday, Sept. 30. Register at the fair office. Registration forms are available at www.cullmanfair.org/fair-parade.

For a complete list of scheduled events and other fair information, visit www.cullmanfair.org.

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Christy Perry

christy@cullmantribune.com