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SUX masks poke fun at unique Sioux City abbreviation, help keep residents safe
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SUX masks poke fun at unique Sioux City abbreviation, help keep residents safe

COVID-19 SUX masks

Dave Bernstein, Saturday in the Park music festival co-founder, wears a SITP30 face mask in the offices of State Steel in Sioux City on April 29.

SIOUX CITY -- Around the world, Sioux City's Sioux Gateway Airport has become well-known for its very memorable three-letter airport designation code.

Anyone who has flown to and from our airport knows what "SUX" stands for.

This is something that never really bothered Sioux Gateway Airport board member Dave Bernstein.

In fact, he has ordered custom-made masks that poke fun at Sioux City's odd claim to fame, as well as giving people a chance to protect themselves against coronavirus.

“My buddy Pearl came up with the idea of a COVID-19 SUX face mask,"  Bernstein, the co-owner of State Steel Supply Co., said inside an office conference room. "I just thought it was a clever concept."

Bernstein, who is also the co-founder of Sioux City's Saturday in the Park (SITP), immediately ordered 200 "COVID-19 SUX" masks. He also commissioned 200 "SITP 30" masks to commemorate the annual summer music festival's 30th anniversary.

"I don't have a particularly large set of skills but I will taken credit for the graphic design of both masks," he said with a laugh. "If it can have white block letters against a black background, then, that is within my limited set of skills."

Fancy design or not, Lou Ann Lindblade was more than happy to sell both types of masks at Sioux City Gifts, a 1922 Pierce St. gift shop she owns with her husband George Lindblade.

"We sold out of 'COVID-19 SUX' masks in less than two days," Lindblade said. "They were a hit with both local customers as well as people who purchased it online."

That really didn't surprise Lindblade, who has been selling "Fly SUX" beanies, T-shirts and luggage tags for years. She had even created novelty "Joy of SUX" and "BiSUXual" coffee mugs. 

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"Even if you're a tourist just passing through town, getting something with 'SUX' in its title will always remind you of Sioux City," she said. 

Don't worry if you haven't picked up your "COVID-19 SUX" face mask. Bernstein has ordered more and Lindblade said they'll be available at her store or at in the next 10 days or so.

COVID-19 SUX masks

Sioux Gateway Airport board member Dave Bernstein ordered COVID 19 SUX  masks that are being sold at Sioux City Gifts. The COVID-19 SUX masks, a play on Sioux Gateway Airport's SUX designator, have sold out, but more have been ordered.

"I've ordered another 200 'COVID-19 SUX' masks," Bernstein said. "Even though we haven't run out of those, I've also order another 200 'SITP 30' mask as well.

"Who knows? People may want a memento after surviving a pandemic."

Or better yet, maybe customers will like to make a fashion statement with a coronavirus mask.

"It's crazy, but people are even creating Internet memes with their choice of mask," Bernstein said with a shrug. "Perhaps, a 'COVID-19 SUX' or a 'SITP 30' mask will be the next big things. If I create a 'Tiger King' mask, I think I'll be set." 

Modeling one of the "SITP 30" masks, he admitted they were both stylish and comfortable to wear.

However, neither the "SITP 30" nor the "COVID-19 SUX" masks can hold a candle to Bernstein's all-time favorite mask.

"The mask my mom personally knitted is way cooler than any other," he said, putting on a jet-black mask that was made by Gail Bernstein. "I like the other masks but mom's mask is better."

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