76th annual Sikeston American Legion Cotton Carnival continues during pandemic

Cotton Festival Continues

SIKESTON, Mo. (KFVS) - Most carnivals and fairs are canceled this year, but one non-profit organization in the Heartland is keeping its more than 70-year-old tradition alive.

The Sikeston American Legion Post 114 is still hosting its annual Cotton Carnival at the Jaycee Rodeo Grounds.

“Its very stressful, a lot of different things to take into consideration,” James Walton.

James Walton is the commander of the legion. He said a lot of thought and preparation is going into this week-long cotton carnival.

“Each week it seemed like it was a new hurdle that we had to cross,” Walton said.

One of those hurdles is getting a new amusement company to provide the rides.

“We got with a company that’s been exposed to this and understands the things they need to control, at the same time we keep watching what happened at the rodeo,” Walton said.

“There was a small uptick, but nothing out of range,” Barry Cook said.

Barry Cook with the Scott County Health Center said it’s reporting about 11 cases daily on average.

“Our overall standpoint is we would prefer that there aren’t any large gatherings,” Cook said.

“I guess we’ll just have to wait and see as far as the numbers themselves but overall if everyone is careful, we can hope for the best.”

Walton also said the Legion is making adjustments to keep people safe.

“We’re encouraging people to wear a mask, we’re encouraging people to do social distancing,” Walton said.

“The rides, as opposed to having double lines, are only going to have single lines so you’re not going back and forth beside each other.”

People waiting in line have easy access to hand sanitizer before entering each ride.

“It really should be as safe of an event as we can put on,” Walton said.

Walton said this carnival is the group’s largest fundraiser of the year.

“Without this, our programs for veterans, we just wouldn’t be able to do it,” Walton said.

The carnival will run at the Jaycee Rodeo Grounds September 29 through Saturday, October 3.

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