State fair, other events finding eager crowds

Dave Bergmeier

State fairs are in the process of going on and in the Sunflower State, the Kansas State Fair returns as a live event Sept. 10 to 19 in Hutchinson.

Other state fairs in the High Plains have recently concluded or will soon follow the Kansas fair. After the 2020 hiatus because of COVID-19 for fairs and festivals they are providing welcome relief for people who have wanted to attend live.

High Plains Journal recently had two events—Cattle U and Trade Show in late July and the recently completed Farmer U. What have we learned from our events and others? There is a real and tangible demand for farmers and ranchers and companies that provide services in an in-person venue. That is encouraging for those who believe in the importance of networking and nurturing business relationships.

What all of this means for the future remains somewhat an unknown as the COVID-19 infection rate—particularly for the Delta variant—remains a concern to many rural Americans.

The Food and Drug Administration on Aug. 23 announced it has approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine for the prevention of the disease in individuals 16 and it will continue to be available for emergency use authorization for ages 12 to 15. This may spur more vaccines into the reluctant arms of Americans.

Acting FDA Commissioner Janet Woodcock, M.D., said, “While millions of people have already safely received COVID-19 vaccines, we recognize that for some, the FDA approval of a vaccine may now instill additional confidence to get vaccinated. Today’s milestone puts us one step closer to altering the course of this pandemic in the U.S.”

Expectations are that Moderna may also receive the same news for its vaccine in the coming weeks. The Johnson & Johnson one-shot booster has also shown promise in building antibodies. Many Americans have been wanting the FDA to weigh in on results instead of relying on the emergency use authorization as they considered whether to get the vaccine.

These are encouraging signs as we know the coronavirus is going to be a topic of conversation for a long time. Getting the pandemic behind us will help Americans to feel more comfortable about safely going to large gatherings. Rural Americans will need to continue to digest all the information ahead of them and to work with those they trust to help them to keep their families to be safe.

All Americans are ready to return to normal lives and that includes attending the state fairs and festivals that are planned. Seeing our neighbors and friends at those events provides an uplifting experience that is unmatched. Those enriched experiences are priceless and also a part of our Americana fabric.

As fall gets closer and the heat subsides, we will have a greater appreciation for what those experiences means as we also have to keep tabs on COVID-19.

Dave Bergmeier can be reached at 620-227-1822 or [email protected].