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Confidence Split Over Faires Re-Opening

Updated: Jul 3, 2020

One thing is clear about the idea of re-opening costumed events during the CV19 pandemic: we are far from any sort of consensus viewpoint.

In mid-June, conducted a brief survey of festival patrons, merchants, performers, and faire staff. Over 850 people responded, 69% of whom were patrons and the rest a combination of merchants, performers, and faire staff.

As expected, most respondents were seasoned faire-goers: almost half (45%) of all patrons indicated they attended over 3 costumed events/year, whereas 36% of merchants/performers/staff attend over 6 costumed events a year.

We then asked participants: "Under what circumstances would you attend an outdoor costumed event later this year or in 2021?"

Participants could respond by selecting one of 4 options: 1. I will NOT attend until a vaccine for CV19 is released to the general public 2. I will NOT attend until there is evidence that attending an outdoor event does not increase one's risk of contracting CV19 3. I WILL attend if the event has posted a list of precautions and/or screenings they will be taking and social distancing and mask wearing will be stringently enforced 4. I WILL attend; I’m not concerned about contracting CV19 in an outdoor setting

Of the 853 unique individuals who answered this question, the answers were almost evenly split into thirds. One-third (32%) indicated they would not attend an outdoor event until there was a vaccine OR saw evidence that attendance would not increase their risk of contracting CV19; one-third (37%) would attend a costumed event, provided precautions were taken to ensure the health and safety of patrons and faire workers; and one-third (31%) said that since they were unconcerned about contracting the virus in a crowded outdoor setting, they would attend a costumed event if it was open.

Since patrons have different needs, expectations, and obligations than staff/merchants/performers—and patrons will generally attend a costumed event for just for one or two days whereas staff/merchants/performers are contractually obligated to attend for the run of faire—we next split the data into two groups in order to compare response rates between these two segments.

Of patrons surveyed, 9% said they would not attend an event until a vaccine is released, compared to 13% of performers/merchants/staff. 18% of patrons said they would not attend an event until there was more evidence that the disease would not be easily spread in an outdoor setting, compared to 29% of performers/merchants/staff polled, an 11% difference in sentiment.

In summary, the data shows that, perhaps understandably, patrons are 15% less concerned than those who work at faire about contracting CV19 at an outdoor event. In general, however, sentiment appears to be evenly split between those who are not concerned about contracting the virus, those who are somewhat concerned and need reassurance, and those who are so concerned that they most likely will not attend any costumed events this year.

Note: we are considering conducting a more detailed survey on this topic over the coming month. If you have suggestions as to what type of questions we should ask in the upcoming poll, email


To conduct surveys and report the results takes an extraordinary amount of time. Although we provide this info free of charge, we hope you'll make a modest donation via the homepage subscription form, to help keep our lights on and the door open. Gramercy!


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