One day after the Fort Bend County Fair Association announced it would not hold its traditional Fair parade due to COVID-19 concerns, city leaders in Richmond and Rosenberg announced plans to host their own “Fair” parade.
“The city of Richmond and the city of Rosenberg will be presenting the ‘Tradition Returns Parade’ in honor of the 85th Fort Bend County Fair,” city leaders announced in a joint news release at 7 p.m. Friday.
The citys’ parade will take place Friday, Sept. 24, on the traditional day known as Fair Day, the news release stated.
“This announcement comes as a collaborative effort between the cities staff and various departments,” city leaders explained.
The parade route begins at the Historic Court House, 401 Jackson St., in Richmond and proceeds west down Avenue I (U.S. 90-A) to Jennetta Street in Rosenberg, as has previous Fair parades.
“A parade committee has been formed and is working hard to make the event run safe and well,” city leaders announced.
“Safety measures will be in place to help mitigate COVID concerns. Both Mayor Becky Haas of Richmond and Mayor Kevin Raines of Rosenberg are excited to be able to carry on the tradition that has meant so much to Fort Bend County.”
Fort Bend County residents and other parade-watchers will be treated to parade entries that include floats, horses, marching bands, antique cars, and much more.
“We look forward to the Parade going though Richmond and Rosenberg, and giving back to the community. It is going to be special,” said Richmond City Manager Terri Vela.
Parade entries are being accepted now at https://www.richmondtx.gov.
The fair will run from Friday, Sept. 24 through Oct.
The Fair Association announced on Thursday it would not be hosting a Fair parade this year.
Nine events will not be returning until 2022, including the parade, junior royalty pageants, Senior Citizen’s Day, Student Fun Day, Diaper Derby, Exceptional Rodeo, pet show, Stick Horse Rodeo, and children’s tractor pull due to the recommendations of county officials and the recent uptick of the delta variant of COVID-19.
“The Fair being a county facility and in order for us to have our fair, these were the recommendations that allows us to move forward,” Fort Bend County Fair Association’s Fair President Brian Graeber explained.
Several safety measures to mitigate COVID will be in place, and extra hand washing and sanitizing stations will be available.
Most of the fair’s event are outdoors in over 80-plus acres. Certain indoor county owned buildings will have recommendations for facial coverings.
Additional protocols will be implemented for other attractions throughout the fairgrounds, he said.
“Livestock shows, live concerts, shopping and food vendors, rodeo action, and the carnival will be up and running on opening day.”
Fort Bend County Judge KP George explained the decision to cancel the popular Fair parade and eight other events.
“The annual Fort Bend County Fair is a staple event of our culturally rich community that is critical to our region’s economy and our children’s educational experience,” he said. “It is a great joy each year to support the Fort Bend County Fair Association as they provide the best fair experience possible for all residents and visitors to our county.”
However, he added, “while the Fair will go on this year, we recognize that our community is currently experiencing a dangerous surge of COVID-19 infections, fueled by the highly contagious Delta variant that is now affecting our children, many of whom are not able to be vaccinated.”
“The top priority of the Fort Bend County Government is the health, safety, and well-being of our community,” he said. “Therefore, upon advisement of the Fort Bend County Health & Human Services Department and Local Health Authority, we strongly recommend that all who attend the Fair wear a mask both indoors and outdoors when unable to physically distance, regardless of vaccination status.”
George said he has been informed that changes are being made to the fair activities in response to the growing spread of COVID-19 in the community and acknowledge the understandable confusion about who is making those decisions.
“Many are not aware that the Fort Bend County Fair Association, a nonprofit 501c3 organization, and tenant of the county, is a self-governing entity,” he explained.
“It is not controlled and operated by the County. As such, the County does not have authority over the Fort Bend County Fair Association or how they will implement the recommendations given by the County’s Local Health Authority but will support any changes the Association’s board makes.”
He said the county’s operations of the fairgrounds facilities are to serve the community by providing multi-purpose facilities for both public and private events held in a responsible manner.
“We are confident that the Fort Bend County Fair Association will take extraordinary measures to protect the health of all fairgoers,” George added.
“We ask that all vendors and visitors do their part as well by following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations to prevent further COVID-19 infections, during this unprecedented time.”