It is about 200 days until the Steele County Free Fair. It's hard to put an exact number on a website posting that will hopefully be read and distributed for many days. But if you need an up-to-the-minute countdown on the fair, just ask fair manager Scott Kozelka. When he joined AM 1390 KRFO for "Fair Talk" on the Talk of the Town recently, the fair was 208 days away. And despite uncertainties, he and his staff and moving forward with plans to hold the fair as everyone is used to experiencing.

That being said, Kozelka acknowledges that rules and restrictions could be required due to the continuing pandemic that forced the cancelation of the fair in 2020. He said, "We don't know what those rules are going to be." Fair vendor booths might have to be spaced further apart. He believes some fairs in other parts of the country are going with one-way traffic in spots.

As we all know, the Steele County Fair is a free fair with unlimited access. Asked whether any discussion had been held on putting up a fence to control the number of people in attendance, he quickly stated, "No. Not at this point."

Kozelka said agreements are going out to vendors at this time. He says the entertainment is already lined up for August 17-22 in Owatonna, where they are "Bringing Back to Fun in 2021."

Some fairs are being held in the southern United States. Kozelka hopes to take a trip to Florida this spring and see how organizers are handling health protocol.

Despite the cancelation of the 2020 event, several fair-related activities were held with a great deal of success. Steele County 4-H was showcased during the first part of what would have been fair week. A food drive thru that weekend was spectacularly received with over 6,200 vehicles making their way through the 15 vendors. A Steele County Dairy Days event was staged in June.

Next time you see Kozelka, if you tell him how many days there are until the fair, he might give you a complimentary ticket for a camel ride. Listen for Kozelka on "Fair Talk" on the AM 1390 KRFO Talk of the Town on February 25 at 9:40 am.

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