BILLINGS- The carnival has arrived in Billings setting the stage for the 2021 MontanaFair. However, as COVID-19 cases rise, officials with MetraPark say they’re keeping some safety precautions in place while adding an emphasis on personal choice.
Ray Massie with MetraPark says there are some new attractions this year, including fun for the entire family with live concerts PRCA rodeo, Dig in the dirt for the kids as well as much more.
“Dig it days where we had the big vehicles for kids to play on,” he said.
This year, guests visiting the fairgrounds will see an automatic change, a new space.
“Thanks to the demolition of the grandstands and barns, we’re really looking forward to letting people see just how big MetraPark really is when they come to Montana,” he said.
COVID-19 is a factor in potentially derailing the fun, with cases in Yellowstone County spiking due to the delta variant. Tuesday, Montana took a huge jump in cases with 493 new cases reported, while Yellowstone County had the second-highest number of active cases in the state with 85.
Massie says while some pandemic-era precautions will stay in place, they are welcoming guests to wear masks if they feel it will add to their own personal safety, but masks are not required.
“We’ll keep on the sanitation protocols we used during 2020 fair,” he said. “We may not be as heavy as what we did in 2020, but we're all very aware of the virus being active in the community and we want to make sure people are safe when they come to the fairground.”
He says there’s also a plan for inside First Interstate Arena where major events with crowds of people will take place this year.
“We have upgraded that facility to be able to turn the air even faster. So, the areas that you're in, will have air moving much more quickly,” he said.
Overall he hopes this year’s fair events will bring back a sense of normalcy.
“After what we've been through now for the past 18 months. This is the time we want to come together and enjoy ourselves and have a wonderful time at MontanaFair this year,” he said.
MontanaFair runs Aug. 13 through 21.