EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – The first of the area’s fairs without COVID-19 restrictions is currently underway in East Palestine.
Everything seemed back to normal Friday evening as people were sippin’ on summer with their lemon shakes. The atmosphere on Market Street made you forget there were ever restrictions.
The only signs of COVID-19 restrictions at the 134th East Palestine Street Fair were the occasional hand sanitizers and a sign at the entrance reminding people to be careful.
Four weeks ago, there were no plans for a street fair, but then businessmen like Don Elzer worked with the health department to do something.
“It was very small at that point. It kept growing and then the governor lifted the restrictions two days before we opened, so we’re full go,” Elzer said.
“Full go” meaning no one was wearing a mask and no one was social distancing on Friday. At one point, the line to get ride tickets was 60 people long.
Cindy Hicks, of Salem: “You gotta get your shot and I got both of mine.”
Anchor/reporter Stan Boney: “So that makes you feel a little safer tonight?”
Hicks: “Oh yeah.”
Boney: “Is it fun to just be here in a normal situation?”
Tori Mollenkoph, of East Palestine: “Yes, I love seeing everyone smile again.”
Minerva’s Scott Miller was running the basketball game. He said last year was rough but now he’s booked through the season.
Miller: “Yes, all the way through October 16.”
Boney: “Every weekend?”
Miller: “Yes sir, and every week.”
Boney: “And every week?”
Boney: “So it’s going to be a busy few months for you?”
Miller: “I certainly hope so.”
At the south end of the street fair, there’s a booth to raise money for the family of 43-year-old Jeff Akins of Perry, Ohio. He was a driver for Kissel Amusement Company who wrecked his truck and was killed while delivering rides for the street fair on Memorial Day.
“It was tough for us. We made a call about not doing this and we decided to do it on Tuesday. It was a last-minute thing,” said Drew Kissel, with Kissel Amusement Company.
“Last year, we didn’t have much going on,” said Richard Mullen, who works for Shirley’s Concessions.
But this year, the line at Shirley’s Steak & Sausage stand started forming even before the street fair opened at 6 p.m.
“It was raining last night and the streets were crowded, so I think everybody’s ready to get out,” Mullen said.
Saturday is the last day for the three-day street fair. It runs from noon to 11 p.m.
Also on Saturday in East Palestine, the annual Alice Street Sale will take place starting at 8 a.m. It’s a garage sale that started years ago on Alice Street that has now become city-wide.