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Iowa State Fair cancelled for 2020, first time since WWII

Published: Jun. 10, 2020 at 3:14 PM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KCRG) - The Iowa State Fair board of directors has decided to cancel the 2020 edition of the fair, the first time since World War II.

The fair was scheduled for August 13 through 23. Organizers decided that holding the fair this year would not be feasible due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

“The decision was complex and considered a wide array of factors. The Iowa State Fair’s top priority is protecting the health and safety of Fairgoers, staff, volunteers, exhibitors and entertainers,” Gary Slater, CEO and manager of the fair, said, in a statement. “Amid the pandemic, we couldn’t, in good conscience, put on the Fair when we knew access to emergency safety services at the Fair could be limited, public transportation to and from the Fair would not be possible, the constant sanitization of a seemingly infinite amount of high touch surfaces lacked feasibility and social distancing in lines to get your favorite Fair food or walking the Grand Concourse would be difficult.”

The board agreed to cancel the major event by a vote of 11-2.

Gov. Kim Reynolds, who is a member of the board due to her office, issued a statement of support for the decision on her Twitter account.

State fairs in other states such as Indiana, Minnesota and Wisconsin had already canceled for this year. Chris Stapleton had already independently moved his grandstand performance to 2021.

The board said that plans are already ongoing to hold the fair in 2021, between August 12 and 22.

Read the full statement from the Iowa State Fair below:

Dear Fair Friends,

The Iowa State Fair Board today made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 Iowa State Fair due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The decision was complex and considered a wide array of factors. The Iowa State Fair’s top priority is protecting the health and safety of Fairgoers, staff, volunteers, exhibitors and entertainers. Amid the pandemic, we couldn’t, in good conscience, put on the Fair when we knew access to emergency safety services at the Fair could be limited, public transportation to and from the Fair would not be possible, the constant sanitization of a seemingly infinite amount of high touch surfaces lacked feasibility and social distancing in lines to get your favorite Fair food or walking the Grand Concourse would be difficult.

While we can’t predict what the COVID-19 pandemic will look like in August, we can make educated decisions based on information and guidance available today from health. Waiting any longer to make a decision would have been more potentially damaging to our great Fair partners and our planning.

Not getting together this August at the Iowa State Fair will be disappointing. Our staff, volunteers, entertainers, vendors and sponsors love to come together to put on 11 fantastic days each summer. We know that the Fair isn’t just an event; it’s a way of life for many, including our friends in agriculture and our young exhibitors.

Thank you for your patience in allowing the Iowa State Fair Board, staff and partners the time we needed to thoroughly review our options for the 2020 Iowa State Fair.

And thank you for your unwavering support. We can’t wait to get together again in 2021.

“Fairwell” for now and stay healthy.

Sincerely,

Gary Slater- CEO and Fair Manager

Copyright 2020 KCRG. All rights reserved.

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