It really feels like everything is starting to fall into place.

It wasn’t health or government officials that made a pair of big Covid-related announcements on Tuesday, it was two popular and treasured institutions in Niagara County.

The doors are opening again at Castellani Art Museum at Niagara University and organizers of the Niagara County Fair announced the popular summertime event is back.

The Castellani, which has been closed for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is reopening to the public on June 12. Weekend hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Of course things won’t be exactly the same, at least for now. Every visitor must wear masks, complete a COVID-19 screening upon entering and practice social distancing. But several new exhibits are on display for eager attendees.

Despite the safeguards we expect folks to be lining up at the door this weekend.

County residents will be lining up again Aug. 4th through the 8th when the 2021 Niagara County Fair gets underway off Lake Avenue.

Members of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Niagara County’s Board of Directors say attendees can expect midway rides and games, live music, ground acts, 4-H shows and exhibits, as well as their favorite fair foods.

“While some COVID-19 modifications will be necessary, we anticipate that fairgoers will be able to safely enjoy all elements of the Niagara County Fair experience,” CCE’s Executive Director Justin Rogers said on Tuesday.

That’s music to our ears, and the fair is still a couple months away. Who knows what safeguards will be applicable in August. For instance, two months ago, in late March, we were reporting that the Cuomo administration was under pressure to scrap the 11 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants. Now, there’ll be no curfews of any kind after May 31. A lot can change in a matter of weeks — especially if folks continue to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

In any case, spring’s arrival has brought with it a sense of optimism that things are really starting to get back to normal, especially for what some might term “non-essential” events and venues (who believes that a year later?). Concerts are returning to Artpark. The Historic Palace Theatre has reopened its doors. And let’s not downplay the welcome return of the Olcott Lions Club’s Olcott Polar Bear Swim for Sight this past Sunday. There was a real sense of excitement in the newsroom when the Lions Club sent out the release stating they were going to put on the popular event even though Covid had pushed it back a couple of months. Better late than never — and we assume most of the spectators weren’t complaining too much as they enjoyed Sunday’s sunny, warm weather.

It seems like almost every day we receive word from somewhere that reinforces the fact we’re returning to pre-Covid life. We got a double dose of that on Tuesday.

After a solid year of reporting what wasn’t going to happen, it feels good to help announce the return of something else to celebrate.

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