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2020 Ohio State Fair canceled

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Posted at 11:25 AM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 15:25:56-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio — After weighing options and working on a way to move forward while limiting the spread of the novel coronavirus, the Ohio State Fair announced its decision to cancel this year.

The fair’s management team and the Ohio Expositions Commission has been working closely with the state and local health officials to come up with a plan that would allow the fair to move forward while utilizing best practices while balancing the financial feasibility of a reduced capacity fair.

On Thursday the Ohio Expositions Commissions voted to cancel the state fair in order to prevent the spread of the virus and “protect the Fair for future generations.”

“After careful thought and deliberation, we have decided to cancel the Ohio State Fair. Knowing how easily the virus spreads in large groups, we believe it is the safest path forward for the health and safety of all Ohioans.” said Andy Doehrel, chair of the Ohio Expositions Commission.

The Ohio Expositions Commission is made up of 14 members, nine appointed by the Governor, as well as the Agricultural Chair of the Ohio Senate, the Agricultural and Natural Resources Chair of the Ohio House of Representatives, the Director of Development, the Director of Agriculture and the Director of Natural Resources.

“Our first priority is the safety of the hundreds of thousands of people involved in the Ohio State Fair each year. While this is a difficult decision, we feel it is necessary to protect the fairgoers, exhibitors, volunteers, vendors, partners, performers, concessionaires, youth leaders, employees and sponsors,” said Virgil Strickler, general manager of the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair. “I look forward to seeing my fellow Ohioans at the 2021 Ohio State Fair, when it is safer for us to enjoy our favorite traditions together.”

Instead of the typical events, the Ohio State Fair said it will “celebrate agriculture and our great state at a distance, with a collection of educational digital content and sharing some of your favorite memories on social media.”

The Ohio State Fair was originally scheduled for July 29 through August 9 this year.

In regards to county fairs, a working group of advisers has delivered recommendations to state officials in hopes of moving forward, at least for the junior fairs and 4-H competitions, but a decision has not been reached yet, Gov. Mike DeWine said in a press conference Thursday.

To learn more about the fair’s endeavors on social media, click here.