2021 Amusement & Entertainment Conference Recap: What You Need to Know

state fairs

As we enter the second month of 2021, there is growing hope and indications that the amusement and entertainment industry will re-open and get back to business. State fairs, trade shows, and conferences across the country have adjusted their calendars to anticipate going forward with their events.

**Note: The below fairs, tradeshows, and more are subject to change. Please visit the website for updated info. **

The Florida State Fair has rescheduled its opening to April 22 – May 2, 2021.  They made the move because they believe moving it out to later in the year provided a better chance for the event to meet COVID-19 opening standards. More vaccines will have been distributed by then, and the virus is not as active in the spring as it is in the winter months.

A few other big fairs in Florida are going forward as originally scheduled. The South Florida Fair in West Palm Beach plans to open as scheduled from May 7 – 23. And in Plant City, FL, the Florida Strawberry Festival is holding its fair March 4 – 14 as planned.

One of the biggest trade shows in the country, the Gibtown Extravaganza, is moving forward with its original dates of February 16 – 19, 2021. Located in Gibsonton, Florida, the annual show is taking all of the recommended CDC precautions, including temperature checks for attendees. Our team of McGowan Allied experts won’t be at this show in person, but we will be available to meet virtually to discuss your needs. Sign up here.

The Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo recently announced the cancellation of the 2021 event. Please read the latest release as of February 3, 2021. The Junior Livestock and Horse Show competitions have kept their original opening date of March. 

Here is a great list of cities and dates for 2021 state fairs.

Preparing state fairs, tradeshows, and more for re-opening in 2021

Being prepared is going to be the key to success as venues re-open in 2021. Venues showing a commitment to safety will have better opportunities to stay open and ensure customers feel safe. The four primary areas to prepare in 2021 are training, CDC guidelines, communication, and insurance. 

Training your staff

As you prepare to re-open and get your staff trained, strong leadership will be essential. Owners and operators will need to focus on clear and focused communication, hiring the right managers, and training with a purpose. If you already haven’t filled your staff positions, understanding the best practices for rehiring quickly for the entertainment and amusement industry will help. If you plan on serving food, there will be new considerations to make regarding food safety in concessions

The Center for Disease Control guidelines

Once you’re open and operating, staying current with the latest CDC guidelines and state, local, and federal recommendations will be critical. Chances are masks, and social distancing recommendation will not change anytime soon. Providing physical and visual spacing recommendations between groups of people will be a crucial focus. Strategically placed safety signage will aid in reminding guests what is expected. 

As capacity recommendations change, you’ll need a flexible ticketing system that can match the changes. Many amusement and entertainment venues are using timed entry ticketing to help with social distancing and limited capacity requirements. 


Keeping your guests and staff up to date through your website, social channels, and in-venue signage will be a primary focus. When guests visit your website, make a safety page pop up first, letting them know all the safety precautions the venue is taking and what is expected. Safety signage has always been important inside amusement parks, but even more so now. Amusement park safety signage has been proven to reduce risks. The key is making your signage visually stand out with colors and images while making it easy for everyone to understand, no matter what their language or reading level may be. 


The final layer of protection is having the right insurance. The first step is conducting a proper 360-degree threat assessment. You’ll discover the common physical, financial, and societal threats that should all be covered appropriately. Once you understand your risks, you’ll want to find the right plan and provider specializing in the amusement and entertainment industry. 

McGowan Allied Specialty Insurance has more than 35 years of experience in the amusement and entertainment insurance space. 

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