HURON — Peggy Besch, the director of the South Dakota State Fair, provided a semi-annual update to the Huron City Commission on Monday evening, giving commissioners an idea of what the 2020 South Dakota State Fair may look like.
Besch first discussed the additional measures that the fair has taken due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She mentioned that the fair grounds will have sign-age printed in English, Spanish, and Karen encouraging the wearing of masks and explaining the severity of the virus. Hand washing stations will be constructed where possible and multiple hand sanitizing stations will be added throughout the grounds.
In the food court, all food vendors will be required to wear masks. Besch also reported that condiments will not be self-serve this year, instead requiring that items like ketchup and salt be distributed in individual packets. Picnic tables and benches in the food area specifically, but also wherever possible throughout the grounds, will be spaced to provide for additional social distancing.
While there has been some speculation about whether there would be a carnival area, Besch assured the commission that there would be a carnival, though it may look different. Multiple rides will not be coming to the fair, and some rides will be modified to encourage distancing while on the ride. Carnival rides will be cleaned multiple times during the day, but Besch made it clear that it would not be between every ride.
Fair employees will be provided temperature checks upon arriving at work. They will also be provided their own personal hand sanitizer for use throughout their shift and will be encouraged to wear a mask. Besch was asked about the difference in requiring food vendors to wear masks but not requiring fair employees to do the same, and she reported that this was the current standards set by the fair board, though they could be reconsidered before the fair opens for free day on September 2.
Besch did report that the buildings are at 75% capacity with vendors right now and that camping is full for the fair at this time. Commissioners did question Besch regarding beer gardens and placing a capacity limit due to city ordinance that presently restricts establishments within city limits to 50% capacity. Besch stated that she would bring this advisement to the fair board at their next meeting.
Commissioners also received a semi-annual update on the Beadle County Humane Society from director Kim Krueger.
She provided the commission with multiple numbers on calls and intakes through the end of June. Per Krueger’s report, the Humane Society responded to 386 calls in the first six months of the year, with the majority of those calls due to an animal running at large. Krueger reported that there have been 476 intakes this year and that 65 animals are currently housed at the Humane Society.
One concern that Krueger noted in her report was the increase in biting calls. Through June, the Humane Society had responded to 18 such calls, and in July, Krueger reported six more such calls, bringing the year-to-date total to 24. She reported that there were only 22 such calls in all of 2019.
Commissioner Kludt asked if the increase in bite calls were due to any specific breed, and Krueger did acknowledge that there has been a notable increase in pit bull and pit bull-cross breed bites. She was quick to state that this is not an issue with the breed, per se, but something that proper socialization and leashing could solve in many cases.
Krueger did report that “around 600” pet licenses have been sold this year, which is a significant rise over 2019 at the same date, but it still leaves many animals in the city unlicensed. Krueger noted that the cat population in the city is especially in need of licensing.
Presently, Krueger reported that the Humane Society is open by appointment only. She encouraged anyone interested in adopting a pet from the Humane Society to peruse the animals from Beadle County Humane Society on petfinder.com, and then make an appointment to see the one of most interest. That provides for the safety of the animals and Humane Society staff at this time.
The city commissioners approved trailer court licenses for five trailer courts for 2020/2021:
• Sheltered Trailer Court - 1500 Third Street Southwest
• Huron Mobile Estates - 541 Ohio Avenue Northwest
• Huron Mobile Court - 602 Jersey Avenue Northeast
• Woody’s Trailer Court - 1350 Fourth Street Southwest
• Prairie Villa - 1400 21st Street Southwest
• Added Ralph Borkowski as a city volunteer during the United Way Day of Caring program
• Approved a fireworks display permit for the South Dakota State Fair for September 6, 2020 at the grandstand infield on the fairgrounds
• Approved a special event on-sale alcoholic beverage license filed by South Dakota State Fair for a wedding at the Expo Building on August 1-2, 2020
• Approved a change in venue for alcohol consumption in public permit for Bernie Schutt for August 2, 2020 from Memorial Park to Prospect Park
• Appointed Marlene Fullerton to the Golf Advisory Board
• Approved regular status for Candice Daher, E911 Telecommunicator at $20.84 per hour upon completion of probationary period
Huron city commissioners meet weekly at City Hall at 5:30 p.m. Monday evening. City residents interested in participating in the meeting or watching live can tune into the city’s YouTube channel.