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Montana State Fair gets underway in Great Falls; masks optional

Carnival workers set up for Montana State Fair
Loralie Carroll
Derek Brady
Mark Carpenter
Montana State Fair
Carnival workers set up for Montana State Fair
Posted at 11:18 AM, Jul 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-31 13:18:42-04

GREAT FALLS — Walking through the Montana State Fair, you're likely to find as many reasons for people not wearing a mask as there are people at the fair.

  • "I feel pretty safe not wearing one so far, but if things start to rise then I will definitely keep my mask with me,” fairgoer Loralie Carroll said. "As for the whole pandemic and everything, I'm just playing it how it goes."
  • "I didn't even think about it, honestly,” said Mark Carpenter. "I got vaccinated and I had COVID, too."
  • "Because we're vaccinated, we do feel it's pretty safe. We do have our masks for establishments that require it,” said Derek Brady.

According to the Cascade City-County Health Department, as of July 30, the positive case rate in Cascade County has steadily increased each week from 4.9% to 7.9% since June 22.

The weekly average number of cases, however, had fluctuated from a low of 5.4 to a high of 20.

The total number of variant cases had increased from 57 to 95 and the total number of breakthrough cases had increased from 24 to 49.

The CDC earlier this week recommended that everyone wear masks indoors in areas where community transmission of the virus is high. As of July 30, that includes Cascade County.

Masks are also recommended outdoors in crowded areas in communities that have a high number of COVID cases.

For fairgoers though, COVID wasn't going to ruin their summer in 2021.

  • "I heard it was going on. I'm here with a few friends. It's my day off of work, I thought I'd enjoy summer while it lasts,” said Carroll.
  • "We like to go on the rides and stuff,” Carpenter said, looking down at his daughter.
  • "I thought it would be fun,” said Lowery when asked why he came to the fair.
  • "We were visiting friends in Shelby, Montana and we just happened to time it correctly and we wanted to relive what it was like when we were younger and visited the fair,” said Brady.

The Montana State Fair runs through Saturday, August 7, and features the following headline performers:

  • Country music duo Big & Rich with guests Cowboy Troy and DJ Sinister will take the stage on July 31st.
  • On August 1st, Terry Fator will perform; Fator is a ventriloquist/comedian, and the winner of the second season of "America’s Got Talent."
  • August 2 will feature county music singer Travis Tritt.
  • On August 3rd, Christian pop duo For King & Country will take the stage.
  • Rock trio Chevelle will perform on August 6th.
  • August 7th will feature singer Kodi Lee, the winner of season 14 of "America’s Got Talent."

Visit the Montana ExpoPark website for more information about fair events and activities, and to buy tickets. You can also call 406-727-1481 for ticket information.