TYLER, Texas (KETK) – The Rose City is gearing up for the East Texas State Fair this weekend.
Many small businesses weren’t able to take part in the fair in 2020 because it was canceled due to coronavirus. Last year, it was just a fair food drive thru event.
“Our goal was to produce an event closest to what the community has come to know and love,” said Cody Rosenbalm, Marketing Director for the East Texas Fair. “We have not gotten rid of any carnival rides, any food vendors. In fact, there are more food vendors out here than normal. Everything is just arranged a little bit differently.”
Ted Kamel has been a vendor at the fair for three decades.
“It’s special for me because I’m not just here to sell food,” Kamel said. “I’m born and raised in Tyler, Texas, went to Tyler schools and grew up here. I know a lot of people, family, friends, so I love coming out here and seeing people and sometimes people I don’t get to see other than at the East Texas Fair.”
COVID-19 is still a top concern, with many East Texas vendors taking precautions while serving the community.
“All my crew is vaccinated, and we are very safe in what we do,” Kamel said. “We are excited that we are back out at the fair and living our lives and doing it with some level of precaution, of course.”
Kamel said he’s proud to be part of the fair’s return.
“The fact that they were able to pull this off this year after everything that has happened the last two years, you’ve got to hand it to them,” Kamel said. “They really have done a tremendous job.”
The fair added a new entrance on Houston Street to make it more accessible.
“We have a priority response team now which includes the bike team, which will be active at the fair,” Tyler Police Public Information Officer Andy Erbaugh said. “They will be inside the fair. We also have officers that work off duty in uniform who are going to be working security at the fair.”
About 75 retired police officers will make up the fair’s new safety team. You’ll see them at stands, working lost and found and greeting fairgoers.