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Foire du Midi returns this summer after one-year break
The famous Foire du Midi returns this summer after being cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
"The fair is back after a very complicated year for the fairgrounds," announced Fabian Maingain, the Brussels alderman for economic affairs, on Monday. “This is the first major public event that can be held as part of the deconfinement plan and the resumption of economic activity. We know that, for some, the fair represents 50% of their annual turnover."
In total, 129 attractions have been announced for this summer’s event, which will run from 17 July to 22 August.
Along with some new rides, there will be some changes to the infrastructure, some but not all introduced because of the ongoing health situation. For instance, there will be a new entrance to the site on Boulevard Poincaré due to the work being carried out on the future Metro 3 line at Avenue de Stalingrad.
The fair itself will now also be divided into four zones in order to ensure a better distribution of visitors. These areas, each with their own entrance and exit, will have indicated walking lanes which will make it possible to control the direction of the flow of visitors and prevent congestion. Wearing a mask will be mandatory, both in public spaces and in attractions where safety distances (1.5 m) will be in effect.
Despite necessary precautions on site, there will be no quotas or monitoring of numbers at the entrances and exits. "The fair attracts more than 5,000 people per day and up to 12,000 at peak times, but having the fair divided into four zones should make it possible to manage these numbers safely, so there will be no counting and limitation of the number of visitors,” said Maingain. “Being in a public space with mandatory mask-wearing ensures everyone's safety."
Emphasis has also been placed on integrating the event into its urban environment. "We have reduced the duration of the fair by one hour to align ourselves with what is done in other major cities such as Antwerp or Liège," Maingain added. The closing time will thus be scheduled at midnight on weekdays and at 1.00 on weekends. "On the noise side, we also plan a limit of 75 decibels after 22.00."
In terms of security, the police presence will be reinforced while the teams of Bravvo, the local prevention service, will also be on the ground "to ensure public safety."
For this 140th edition, the fair has announced the support of a surprise sponsor, the boxer Ryad Merhy. He will act as an ambassador of the fair and will be present on 10 August, on the day dedicated to sick children.
"I am proud to have been chosen as a sponsor for the Fair, which for me has always been an important event in July and August," the boxer said. “I would come with friends to enjoy the attractions and eat French fries and, now that I'm a young dad, I'm going to be able to share those moments with my kids."
Merhy will be unable to attend the opening of the Fair, but he has a very good excuse: he will be defending his WBA world heavyweight title at the King Baudouin Stadium against the Chinese boxer Zhaoxin Zhang that same evening.