MANATEE COUNTY, Fla. — The fair will go on. 

The Manatee County Fair is the state’s first fair of 2021 which means amid the pandemic, all eyes will be on them as doors open Thursday.

“They’re probably going to be the poster child for fairs in the industry,” said Kathy Ross of Ross Concessions. “They’ll be watched on how we do it and how successful we are.” 

Fair manager Danny Alfonso said their team has been working with the county since August and has implemented all of the requested safety protocols. They have been planning the fair since last March when the pandemic began. Alfonso said with 770 youth exhibitors who have been working all year to prepare for the fair and a number of vendors in dire need of businesses, they wanted to reopen for their 105th year. 

“This is an industry that can’t take another year without working,” he said. 

The fair has a number of guidelines in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 including: 

  • Marked walkways with one-way arrows 
  • Marked spaces in line to promote social distancing
  • Mask requirements when indoors and when social distancing isn’t possible
  • Hand sanitizer machines all around the fairgrounds
  • Increased space between vendors 
  • Dedicated staff members to disinfect areas

They also contracted with an anti-microbial cleaning company who sprayed all of the surfaces on the fairgrounds. 

The Manatee County Fairgrounds are located at 1402 14th Avenue W. in Palmetto. For more information, visit