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Sioux Empire Fair, Huset’s Speedway attract large crowds

Published: Aug. 3, 2020 at 10:38 PM CDT
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -

While the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise in South Dakota, large events are starting to come back.

And, while social distancing and mask-wearing are being encouraged at many of these gatherings, South Dakota is one of only two states in the nation without some type of mask mandate.

The pandemic continues to take its toll across the United States, and South Dakota is no exception, with the virus already claiming the lives of 135 people in the state.

But, the threat of COVID-19 isn’t keeping people from getting out and enjoying their summer, as more than 6,500 fans piled into Huset’s Speedway Sunday night for the venue’s first races in over three years.

“There was a lot of electricity in the air last night when we first started,” Huset’s Speedway General Manager Doug Johnson said. “I’ve been coming here, as a fan and as a kid, for a long, long time, and that was probably the most excitement I’ve felt in this place for quite some time.”

The Sioux Empire Fair is also underway, drawing hundreds of people each day to the W.H. Lyon Fairgrounds.

“A lot of people missed stuff this year, and we’re happy to bring something for families to enjoy,” Sioux Empire Fair Director of Marketing and Public Relations Courtney Drenth said.

Rock n’ Roll tribute band Hairball filled the grandstand Sunday night, and country music act Big & Rich is expected to do the same.

“We noticed a lot of pods of people that came, we encourage social distancing and wearing masks, and we saw a lot of that last night in the seats of the grandstand and also in the standing room,” Drenth said.

With no local, or state, mandated restrictions forcing residents to wear face coverings or stay indoors, Governor Kristi Noem has said she is entrusting the people of South Dakota to be responsible.

“A lot of people are supportive of the fair, overall,” Drenth said. “We’ve added the hand sanitizer stations and hand washing stations, and a lot of people have said that they appreciate that.”

Johnson says there were plenty of open seats for fans to spread out and move around at Huset’s Speedway this past Sunday.

“If they didn’t feel comfortable sitting next to someone, they had that opportunity (to move) and we made that available to them,” Johnson said.

The next event at Huset’s will be Monster Trucks on August 29th.

The Sioux Empire Fair runs through August 8th.

Copyright 2020 Dakota News Now. All rights reserved.

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