TOPSFIELD, Mass. — As concerns of EEE continue to spread across the state, precautions are now being put in place in Essex County. The Topsfield Fair starts up in just two weeks, and with hundreds of thousands of people expected to attend, people are already on edge.
Topsfield has been upgraded to a high-risk area for EEE after a man in Manchester-by-the-Sea contracted the virus on Wednesday. That's why the town and the fair are working together to act now.
It's a tradition that Tom Rose has come to love over the past 20 years: going to the Topsfield Fair. But this year, he says there’s a sense of unease buzzing about in town.
"We'll probably go and pick a time when it's not going to have the most mosquitos and just hope for the best, dress in long sleeves, long pants," he said.
With a growing threat of EEE, some are nervous about mosquitos on the fairgrounds. But they're taking action.
"The Town of Topsfield has requested spraying, so they're going to be spraying the town public ways on Monday night, including the fair," said Jen Collins-Brown, the Topsfield Fire Chief and Emergency Management Director. "The fair has allowed them to be sprayed on Monday night."
According to the fair's general manager, last year about 485,000 people came out for the fun. Over the phone, he said he's hopeful a deep freeze before October 4th could wipe the mosquitos out.
"There's a good possibility, potentially," he said. "I know the farmers, of course, would hope that it wouldn't."
But for people like Rose, mosquitos or not, tradition, is tradition.
"I've heard a lot of people talking about it, but I don't know if it's going to prevent people from going," he said. "I think they’ll just take extra precautions to make sure they're covered up."
The General Manager of the fair also told Boston 25 News that they're checking to make sure no water is pooling on the grounds, in wheelbarrows or other places. The fair runs from October 4th through the 14th.
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