The State Fair of Texas Board of Directors has announced that it has canceled the 2020 State Fair, held annually at Fair Park in Dallas, over the concerns about the current COVID-19 pandemic across the U.S. and the state. As of today, 210,000 cases have been reported in Texas, and 27,054 have been reported in Dallas County, home of the State Fair.
“While we are heartbroken at the notion of not welcoming more than 2.5 million of our closest friends for this annual celebration of the Lone Star State, the excitement we feel in moving forward with planning the 2021 State Fair of Texas and keeping this 134-year tradition alive will keep us motivated until we can greet our fairgoers, seasonal staff, and business partners again in a safe environment.” So reads a statement from Mitchell Glieber, President of the State Fair of Texas.
“This was an extremely tough decision. The health and safety of all involved has remained our top priority throughout the decision-making process,” says Gina Norris, Board Chair for the State Fair of Texas. “One of the greatest aspects of the Fair is welcoming each and every person who passes through our gates with smiles and open arms. In the current climate of COVID-19, there is no feasible way for the Fair to put proper precautions in place while maintaining the Fair environment you know and love. While we cannot predict what the COVID-19 pandemic will look like in September, the recent surge in positive cases is troubling for all of North Texas. The safest and most responsible decision we could make for all involved at this point in our 134-year history is to take a hiatus for the 2020 season.”
Not since World War II has the State Fair of Texas been canceled. Its previous cancelations were due to World War I (1918), planning for the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition and 1937 Pan American Exposition at Fair Park (1935 – 1937), and World War II (1942 – 1945).
The Fair will continue its nonprofit mission in 2020 with The Big Tex Youth Livestock Auction and livestock shows, Big Tex Scholarship Program, Big Tex Urban Farms, and others, and the decision about the traditional football rivalry games between the University of Texas and University of Oklahoma, and Prairie View A&M University and Grambling State University, will be left up to the universities.