If you’re headed to the North Texas Fair and Rodeo, keep your eyes peeled once you set foot on the fairgrounds.

“We’ve got 500 COVID reminders on the grounds in signage,” said Glenn Carlton, executive director of the North Texas Fair Association. “We don’t have anything on the seats in the arena or the livestock area, but we have a lot of reminders.”

The fair and rodeo opens Friday, and officials are prepared to rodeo during the pandemic. Carlton said the event will follow the most recent guidelines from Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk. Vendors in the exhibition hall will welcome 75% of the facility’s capacity, just as retailers are permitted in the guidelines. The rodeo arena will welcome patrons at up to 50% capacity, and patrons are being asked to wear masks if they can’t properly socially distance at the fair’s outdoor activities and events. Masks are required indoors.

At the carnival, the governor’s orders don’t mandate masks, but patrons are welcome to allow empty seats between themselves and others on rides.

“A lot of the cars on the carnival rides are 15 feet apart,” Carlton said.

The fairgrounds will have 125 hand sanitizing stations throughout its footprint, and Carlton said attendees will find even more sanitizer at each booth along the food court.

But what if you hate wearing a mask? Carlton said attendees don’t have to mask up if they gather and space out on the grassy area in the Fun Zone, where a big video screen will broadcast rodeo events and concerts. The screen on the rodeo arena, which has been turned off during events in years past, will show both rodeo events and concerts.

“If you can sit on the grass and social distance, you don’t have to wear a mask,” Carlton said. “If you can’t socially distance, you’re supposed to wear a mask, according to the governor’s order.”

The staff and volunteers will have paper masks for attendees who need them.

A sanitation company will disinfect all of the high-touch objects and areas across the fairgrounds each day of the fair, including the carnival, Carlton said.

“The solution [the sanitation company uses] lasts a month, but I asked them if they could do it every day, and they said yes.”

The rodeo parade starts at Denton High School at 10 a.m. Saturday, and Cross Timbers Community Church, Independent Bank and the Denton Chamber of Commerce have all offered their parking lots for spectators.

“That way, people don’t have to crowd around the downtown Square,” Carlton said.

LUCINDA BREEDING can be reached at 940-566-6877 and via Twitter at @LBreedingDRC.

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