An annual rite of summer in southwest Missouri is getting underway Thursday as the Ozark Empire Fair begins its 85th run in Springfield.
Fair officials say there’s a significant emphasis on safety and security, especially with a growing number of COVID-19 cases in the area.
General Manager Aaron Owen says the fair will continue to take the COVID-19 safety measures they took last year, with the exception of the mask mandate.
Masks will be made available anyone who would like one.
There will also be handwashing and sanitizing stations, with signs posted throughout the fairgrounds off Norton Road.
The fair will celebrate with a big birthday bash for the 85th Ozark Empire Fair, along with Missouri’s 200th anniversary as a state.
Gates at the fair open at 4:00 p.m. for Thursday’s opening day.