Since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic, large gatherings of people have been at the top of the list of things that need to be canceled altogether or modified in order to safely occur.
Despite many fairs, such as the annual New York State Fair in Syracuse or the Big E in Springfield Mass., being canceled, Mineola Chamber of Commerce president Joel Harris said that, as of now, the Mineola Street Fair is set to take place, with some modifications, on Oct. 4.
Ordinarily, vendors at the fair would be placed as closely together as they normally would be but Harris said he expects there to be some buffer room between them to allow for physical distancing.
“And I can’t imagine we’re going to have rides that would keep people in close proximity,” Harris said.
Harris made it clear that all of these rules are subject to change and that the chamber has only had the most preliminary talks about the event so far but as of now, expects to go forward with the event which will be put on by Nassau County Fairs.
He acknowledged that could change if officials decide that the event cannot happen, or needs to be modified further.
Harris said there are questions that he still does not have answers to but he expects to be addressed in the coming months. He said the fair generally attracts a few thousand patrons per year, well over the current crowd capacity set by the state of 50 people.
The fair usually has a stage where bands provide entertainment for the event. Harris hopes this year’s fair can have some sort of nod to the essential workers of Mineola, especially the village employees, medical professionals and emergency services.
Harris was asked if the fair this year could provide a much-needed revenue boost to local businesses, being that so many have been hit hard financially since the pandemic began. Harris said the chamber does not track revenue for the event but that all revenues generated by an individual business at the fair are kept by that business.
“Our main focus is to highlight everyone to outsiders,” Harris said. “It’s not so much about revenue as it is about highlighting (businesses in Mineola).”
All members of the Mineola Chamber of Commerce are entitled to a spot at the fair, which Harris encourages them to take advantage of.