The Delaware State Fair returns with true grandeur Thursday following a pared-down showing last year, and organizers can't wait bring some joy to all the Delawareans looking to get out of the house.
"We're excited, it's the 102nd annual Delaware State Fair right here in Harrington, Delaware," said Assistant General Manager Danny Aguilar. "We'll have 10 days--July 22nd through the 31st...of great concerts, great food, great fair tradition and looking forward to getting the fair started."
Aguilar said, though they were able to put on some semblance of the fair in 2020 as the pandemic continued to wreak havoc across the world, this year, with vaccines rolling out, it will very much be the fair everyone remembers from years past.
"It's very much a return to normalcy, resembling a lot of activities and stuff that took place in 2019. Live entertainment is certainly alive and well here in Harrington at the Delaware State Fair," he said. "We've got a great concert lineup scheduled, 10 nights of entertainment. We have a free concert beginning tomorrow night, and then we've got the great country acts, some kids acts, the demolition derby....Most importantly is, if folks are fully vaccinated, they're not required to wear a mask. If they are not fully vaccinated, it's strongly encouraged. We're following CDC guidelines and it's strongly encouraged for them to mask up if they're not able to social distance and are going into buildings."
The prospect of seeing old faces is an exciting one, Aguilar said, and he expects there to be quite a few of them. Following a record-setting attendance in 2019, he noted tourism seems to be up everywhere as people are looking to get out and about again, and Aguilar believes that will translate into even better attendance this year.
"Several of our more traditional, older food vendors--that are nonprofits, that are part of our communities...some of our stands that have been here for 30, 40-plus years, unfortunately took a year off last year for good reasons, and we're looking forward to just seeing those portions of the fair coming back, as well as live entertainment at the M&T Bank Grand Stand," he said. "Just seeing trends with other live events, and from a tourism perspective, I just see tremendous crowds doing very well down at the Delaware beaches. So, early projections is we're anticipating folks just wanting to get out of the house...Folks are ready to have a good time here at the fair."
And after a year off, the options available to attendees might be overwhelming, in the greatest way possible.
"It's a true celebration. It's a celebration that the community has an opportunity to come back together," Aguilar said. "As I look out my window [and see everyone setting up,] it literally is just amazing volunteers and hard workers. The food vendors, the concessionaires that really make the fair what it is. Over 80 food vendors, we have over 200 retail locations, we have 45 sponsors. It's just a great partnership to make the fair what it is for for 2021. So we're encouraging folks come on out and be part of the fair tradition here in Delmarva."