BEAUMONT, Texas — The Young Men's Business League South Texas State Fair just can't catch a break. Last year, they were forced to cancel due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, organizers moved the fair to May due to the restrictions, but the soggy start isn't stopping the fun.
With the rain letting up for now, many are using this opportunity to continue to set up for the state fair.
As expected, the weather has impacted several vendors, and now they are rushing to be ready for when those gates swing open Thursday.
Fair goers should note that due to construction one of the usual routes to the fair is unavailable as the Interstate 10 exit to Major Drive is currently closed.
Alternate routes are to enter by using Major Drive or Fannett Road instead of the interstate.
Since last week, crews have been out on the fairground getting it ready for both vendors and guests.
"I really, really hope that rain will stop for tomorrow,” said vendor Dan Nguyen.
From organizers to guests, everyone is hoping that the show will go on.
"The weather is something that we deal with every year,” Marc Richardson, YMBL State Fair chairman said.
After last year's cancelation due to the pandemic, vendor Candice Thibodeaux says she's hoping to make up for what's been a challenging carnival season.
"It will be very nice everyone. Everybody can get out and have a good time, get out of the house,” Thibodeaux said. “Everybody needs it. It will be nice for everyone in the business to have something coming in."
Leading up to the fair, Southeast Texas has seen several inches of rain. With more in the forecast, the YMBL chairman says organizers will be closely monitoring the conditions.
"If we get a continual downpour and the radar shows no break in it, we will go ahead and make a call from the fair that we're just gonna not gonna open. We're gonna shut down that particular time. That's a call that's made on the spot," Richardson said.
As of Wednesday night, YMBL says the weather has not altered any plans, which is a sigh of relief for folks like Nguyen. Looking to make up for lost time, he says every single dollar earned at the fairgrounds will count.
"I just worry about the customers, if they come or not because hopefully, we have the business for the next 10 days," Nguyen said.
With the green light to open the gates tomorrow, Richardson says they're ready give Southeast Texans something to celebrate.
"I think people are excited and looking for a reason to get outside and do something. So, I think if we can get people in fast enough, we're gonna have a good fair," Richardson said.
With less than 24 hours until gates open, organizers and vendors have been dealing with the impact of this week's rain.
"We're full swing. We're getting everything going,” said exhibit and concession chairman Clint Turner. “Most of the vendors are checked in. We only have a few that, unfortunately some of them, are stuck in locations that they can't — they're having trouble, they maybe a little later than normal but we will get them taking care of ."
Organizers say masks are recommended, they also plan on having hand sanitizers stationed throughout the fairgrounds.
On Friday, gates open up at 6 p.m. and the fair will then run until May 30.