GEORGE WEST, Texas — It’s not without its fair share of changes due to the pandemic, but to members of the Live Oak County community, the return of the county fair was an event much-needed.
“We had it fully and stuff (last year),” said 12-year-old Parker, a George West resident. “But then right after the last spring break, it just — Corona happened — so this year is actually really good because we can actually get out and do something with our friends.”
“We got the last bit of the cookie before the pandemic shut down (everything), there’s been virtually nothing going on since then,” said the Live Oak County Fair Association’s president, Tommy Williams, who describes the adjustments they’ve had to do this year as a “total change.”
“The pandemic (put us in a position) to where we spread stuff out,” Williams said, adding that the Houston Livestock Show’s schedule change also affected them. “We probably have 30 or 40 kids that go to the major shows in Houston, Austin and San Antonio, (which) forced us to move back and shutdown and not have the sale when we normally have it.”
As a result, the event was essentially split, with the county’s rodeo and livestock show happening toward the beginning of March. The fair will reach its conclusion this week, ending on Saturday. Auctions within several areas will be held online.
“This is probably the single-biggest event every year in the county as far as money that changes hands or the number of people that come through the gates,” Williams said. “The next biggest event would be the education foundation or Friday night football games.”
The Fair Association receives a percentage of the ticket sales. Williams adds that the pre-sold tickets end up benefitting the George West Junior Class as well as the Three Rivers 4H club.
“It was a blessing that we got to do it, because the junior class was hurting for fundraisers — so was the 4H club,” he said. “The carnival definitely makes them some money every year for the kids — for the students.”
The carnival aspect is managed by Moore’s Greater Shows, which has signage that suggests the public wears masks and has hand sanitizer stations available.
While the turnout was sparse Friday afternoon, the amount of people wearing masks was little too, a quality that one child from out-of-town found inviting.
“I mean it’s really cool, because in San Antonio, they enforce masks much more” said Nate, 12, “It’s good to see a bunch of people out here, it’s good to see all of us having a good time, it’s just really good to like see everything and have fun.”
Albert Ruiz, the Live Oak County Fair Association’s vice president, said instances like this is a step in the right direction for his county.
“It feels a little bit like it’s come back to normal again,” Ruiz said “It just takes a little time and just need to be careful with everything we do. … Kids need support from the public, but the main thing is trying to get everybody back to normal. And, you know, we just need people to come out here and support the kids — that’s the main thing.”
Many of the events that will be held to raise money for area students will be on Saturday, to see the schedule of those events, visit the Live Oak County Fair Association’s Facebook page.