Carnival comes to Middletown with safety protocols in place amid pandemic


MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — It’s a sure sign of spring and it may be a sign that things are getting a little bit more back to normal during this pandemic.

The ferris wheel, food, games, and other rides have returned to Palmer Field after a year hiatus due to the pandemic.

“Well it’s a reinforcing element that we’re returning slowly to normalcy, and as long as we use our heads, things will come out pretty good hopefully pretty soon,” said Middletown resident Dennis Fennessy.

The Coleman Brothers, which is headquartered in the city has been doing this for more than a hundred years but this year may be like no other.

“Kind of the difficult part was establishing a capacity limit,” said Middletown Health Director Kevin Elak.

The city’s health department, along with state and local agencies, are conducting inspections to make sure everything is set to go. The state COVID rules restrict capacity to 50 percent of previous years.

“We came up with a number of 500,” said Elak.

Masks are mandatory, hand sanitizer stations will be placed throughout the carnival, and queuing for rides will keep people six feet apart. There is also a designated eating area.

“We don’t want people walking around with the mask down, eating popcorn or cotton candy,” said Elak.

A microbial fogger will be used on each ride once a day and carnival games will be wiped down between each player.

“Feel pretty confident that this can be done safely and people can go out there and have fun,” said Elak.

The carnival opens Friday and runs through May 2nd. It’s known as the Rainmaker because there have been times when there has been heavy rain, severe thunderstorms, or even snow.  But the prospect of that doesn’t really seem to be bothering anyone too much this year.

“It’s kind of the hallmark of spring each year,” said Fennessy.

About 20 of the workers got their first vaccination at one of the city’s clinics.

“They were so appreciative when they came last night so it was a really great feeling actually,” said Elak.

Health officials and those suffering COVID fatigue may be hoping this first fair of the season is a success. 

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