The Owensboro HydroFair is still scheduled to take place in mid-August, but officials are continuing to monitor the situation as the event draws nearer.
The HydroFair is slated for August 14-16, with races taking place over the final two days. Race director Randy Lientz posted to Facebook on Tuesday they had received a “qualified approval” to hold the event on the scheduled dates, though he said he coined that phrase himself. He said it means as long as there is no spike in COVID-19 cases, he expects the event to proceed as planned.
There has not been any official announcement either way — it has not been given a firm green light to continue, nor has it been cancelled — and the situation will likely remain fluid for a while.
Guidance from the state of Kentucky regarding public events and venues was only released last week.
Clay Horton, director of the Green River District Health Department, said he talked with Owensboro Director of Events Tim Ross on Tuesday regarding how the City of Owensboro could begin safely putting on events.
The majority of that conversation was about the upcoming “Live on the Lawn” concert series. However, Horton said they did briefly discuss whether those same protocols could be used to hold events of a bigger scale, such as the HydroFair.
“As we move through summer, there would be a lot learned about how to apply event and venue guidance to different types of events and it could get larger and larger hopefully,” Horton said.
Still, he was clear the Health Department did not issue a decision either way.
“With it being an August date it was too soon to say no, and there was a good chance it could go on and they could make it work under the guidelines,” he said. “But, anything is subject to change, especially if we have widespread transmission or something along those lines. We didn’t approve it, but we didn’t say no either.”
Horton said the main thing to focus on will be making sure the event would be able follow the guidance that has been put out by the state.
Lientz said American Hydroplane Events always makes safety a priority anyway, and they’ve taken it to another level due to the coronavirus.
“We have developed protocol and process for all of our race operations personnel,” he said. “We have rescue teams that are on the water that are paramedics, EMTs, scuba divers, EMS people. If a hydroplane driver has need for their help we have developed a protocol for that.”
Additionally, Lientz said the normal coronavirus-related guidelines such as screening for symptoms and distancing will be in effect.
Lientz said organizers have discussed alternate dates as late as the first weekend in October if the HydroFair must be delayed.
“Our preference would be to keep it as close to the original date as possible,” he said, “because there’s a lot of moving parts that are involved if it has to be moved.”