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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — The September spectacle featuring funnel cakes, turkey legs, livestock and art exhibits, and carnival rides plans an in-person return this year.

The New Mexico State Fair was scrapped in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, although some events took place virtually. The event held in Albuquerque drew about 475,000 visitors from around the state and region in 2019.

Spokesman Wyndham Kemsley said Thursday that officials are confident the event can be held safely in person, with more hand-washing and sanitation stations, and social distancing. “We have one of the biggest properties in New Mexico so we have a lot of open space,” he said.

The fair is scheduled Sept. 9-19. Organizers are looking to hire hundreds of employees.
Ticket sales for another big event, the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, are expected to start in July. The fiesta, too, was canceled last year.

Its early morning mass ascensions, fireworks shows and launches of special-shaped hot air balloons attract hundreds of thousands of spectators from across the globe and hundreds of balloon pilots and their crews. The fiesta is scheduled Oct. 2-10.

The New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs announced Thursday that all of the state museums have reopened, and several of its historic sites.

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