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2021 Ohio State Fair won't be open to the general public due to COVID-19, financial considerations

Ohio State Fair Logo.jpg
Posted at 11:40 AM, Apr 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-08 11:40:46-04

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State Fair announced Thursday that its 2021 fair event will only be open to a select few this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Although vaccination rates are improving significantly each day, Ohio continues to fight the battle against COVID-19. Where we are today in this battle makes it challenging to plan a large-scale entertainment event, not knowing where we will be, or what Ohio will look like, in late July,” said General Manager Virgil Strickler.

He continued, “In addition, the important safety protocols that have been put in place to protect Ohioans, like indoor seating capacities, may lead to attendance that is considerably lower than previous years. The financial ramifications of hosting a typical Ohio State Fair with the same overhead costs, but far less revenue, could be devastating to our organization. In a typical year, the Ohio State Fair’s budget is designed to break even, with a nominal profit, if any. Hosting a full fair this year would likely lead to significant financial loss.”

According to officials, the fair "will be limited to livestock and educational competitions for exhibitors, their families and guests."

Rides, food vendors, concerts and other events are expected to return next year.

“I wish we had a crystal ball, but we don’t,” Strickler said. “As such, the safest decision is to greatly limit the traditional aspects of the Ohio State Fair, sticking to our roots in agriculture. While this is a difficult decision, we feel it is the best path to protect the long-term viability of the Ohio State Fair, as well as the safety of those involved by limiting the scope significantly.”

The fair's livestock shows are expected to take from July 19 to Aug. 8. The deadline to enter the shows is June 20.

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