Mississippi Valley Fair is a go, with big changes
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MISSISSIPPI VALLEY FAIR

Mississippi Valley Fair is a go, with big changes

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The Mississippi Valley Fair is a go for the week of Aug. 4-9 in Davenport, but it will be downsized, with no big-name, nationally known musical acts in the grandstand.

Instead the fair will book what fair general manager Sean Loter describes as "local bands," and the capacity of the grandstand will be limited. That number is still to be determined in consultation with the Scott County Health Department, he said.

Although the health department is advising the fair, it has no say-so on whether it can be held or not.

Loter's announcement on Monday came after a weekend in which cases of COVID-19 spiked in Scott County, and in Iowa and other states that had reopened after being locked down earlier this year.

But standing under tall shade trees west of the Starlite Ballroom, Loter said fair board members had decided they could preserve the fair's proud, 100-year-plus-year tradition "in a safe way."

In addition to limiting grandstand capacity, hand-washing and social distancing will be encouraged, although people will not be required to wear face coverings, he said.

Employees of the midway rides will practice social distancing for each ride and will sanitize the rides between use, he said.

Food will be the same as always, including homemade items from area churches and other groups. Loter said he has talked to several organizations whose members, after months of inactivity, are excited about having booths at the fair.

Iowa 4-H has canceled competitions, but the fair will offer open livestock judging for Scott County youth.

Adult open class judging — livestock as well as projects such as antiques or jellies — will proceed as normal, and there will be educational exhibits and grounds attractions.

The fair at 2815 W. Locust St. typically draws 325,000 people for its six-day run on the fairgrounds on West Locust Street.

Had the national acts not been canceled, admission would have been with a Fun Card only, which starts at $75 and increases to $90 as the fair draws closer. Because of the downsizing, admission will be a daily charge of $10 for adults and $5 for children 4-12.

More information, including Fun Card refund procedures, will be forthcoming, posted to the fair's website and on social media, Loter said.

"We believe in this fair," Loter said. Fair board members want the public to "enjoy some normalcy in these trying times."

"We are moving forward with the best intentions. This is your Mississippi Valley Fair."

Meanwhile, most other major summer events in the Quad-Cities have been canceled, including the Rock Island County Fair, and the John Deere Classic. The Iowa and Illinois state fairs also have been canceled. The Quad-City Times Bix 7 will be a virtual race only.

Still to be decided is the Quad-City Bank & Trust Riverfront Pops concert of the Quad-City Symphony Orchestra.

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