IMPERIAL — The 45th District Agricultural Association (DAA) Board of Directors met virtually for its regular meeting Wednesday, Jan. 12, to discuss COVID-related changes to the upcoming 2022 California Mid-Winter Fair and Fiesta at the Imperial Valley Fairgrounds, which is slated for March 4-13.
The Board discussed the state’s outlined Beyond the Blueprint Framework for mega events, which the fair is classified as. Outdoor mega events are considered higher risk for COVID, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and recommend verification of full vaccination status or a pre-entry negative COVID test result prior to entry. However, after some discussion, the Board voted to follow what is required by the state without the extended restrictions of what is recommended.
Guests will not have to provide verification of full vaccination status or a pre-entry negative COVID test result prior to entry.
“When I first got that email (regarding the Blueprint for mega events), I thought that was going to be the death of our fair this year because they basically cut the numbers (for attendance) in half,” said DAA CEO Alan Phillips.
Because the Board does not wish to be responsible for enforcing mandates, it voted, 5-2, to keep buildings closed with the exception of the livestock buildings. The Preble building, the Casa de Mañana building, vendor areas under the grandstands, and the tunnels will be closed. The Board does intend to offer a majority of its usual activities outdoors.
“What are we enticing people to come and see if we don’t have these school exhibits, the thing in the Preble (building), all the stuff with the kids and the animals and stuff? That’s a huge attraction for everyone,” said DAA Board Member Linsey Dale.
Livestock buildings will remain open and are classified as indoor areas under the CDPH guidelines. Discussion regarding masking and enforcement in these areas will continue at the next Board meeting Feb. 9.
Because of the scaled back activities and offerings, the Board voted to reduce fair ticket prices. Previously, ticket prices for set at $10 for adults and $8 for children and seniors, with the option for reduced prices if purchased during pre-sale. However, this year the Board voted to eliminate pre-sale ticket options and offer tickets at $8 for adults and $6 for children and seniors.
Another change to ticket purchases is the move to electronic tickets only. Physical tickets will not be issued this year. Tickets can be purchased online a week prior to opening day to allow for refunds to be easily made in the instance of a state-mandated shutdown.
Previously, tickets for the fair in Imperial County also offered entrance to the San Diego Fair. The San Diego Fair notified the Board that it would not be partnering with them this year as they anticipate having to limit attendance and are limiting their ticket comps.
The purchase of a ticket to the Imperial County Fair will not grant entrance to the San Diego Fair this year.
With one more meeting to go before the 2022 California Mid-Winter Fair and Fiesta, the Board has a few more details to iron out. However, the green light is still on and the Board remains hopeful that this year’s fair will be much enjoyed following the restrictions that have been in place since the onset of COVID-19.