Pandemic, Rainy Weather Cause Smaller Turnout at Head of Lakes Fair

Organizers say a couple hundred people attended this year.

SUPERIOR, Wis.- As the Head of the Lakes Fair in Superior comes to a close, organizers said fears of the pandemic and some nasty weather kept a lot of people from coming during their six-day run.

Normally attracting thousands to the Fairgrounds on Tower Avenue over the course of the fair, the director of the Head of the Lakes Fair said “a good couple hundred” people showed up this year, though an official count is pending.

The fair looked rather different as temperatures were taken before attendees drove in and 40 hand sanitizer stations were set up on the grounds. Masks were encouraged but not required.

Despite those measures and more, Director Daniel Litchke said concerns about the coronavirus kept people at home, and three rainy days with temps in the 50s were also a turn-off.

“When it rains 3 times of your 6-day fair that plays a big impact on attendance numbers,” Litchke said. “I would say it’s kind of better that we didn’t have any big attendance numbers just because with bigger numbers it’s harder to keep making sure everything’s safe and clean.”

Litchke said planning was also difficult with the number of volunteers available due to the pandemic. Only about five were helping out when there were normally about 20.

Staff were positioned around the grounds to make sure social distancing and safe practices were maintained.

But Litchke said that wasn’t always necessary. “The good thing is people were helping out and doing it, we didn’t have to be enforcing it because they were doing it on their own.”

Armed with a mask and conscious of social distancing, loyal fair-goer Billy DeMars of Esko said he was cautious coming into the fair.

“I brought my mask, I didn’t really know what to expect if I had to wear a mask or not,” said DeMars.

But he said he thought things were run well, and was excited to bring his family. “I think they do handle it. They got spacing at the food stands and all that stuff I think they’re doing it responsibly. It was cool to get the nieces and nephews out here to see the animals.”

Certain rides where social distancing could not be maintained were not available this year, and those that were present were routinely fogged and sanitized.

Litchke said he feels good for his first year ever running the fair fresh out of college, and that as long as everyone remained safe it was a success.

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