By Ashley Moss
It’s official: and people are not happy. NO STATE FAIR!
The decision to cancel the 2020 Texas State Fair is one that touches some fair-goers deeply. However, In an effort to “do what’s right for Texas,” state officials confirmed the decision, taking with consideration to the current COVID-19 climate and the recent surge in cases in North Texas.
Long considered the highlight of the year for local residents, and a big business boom for entrepreneurs; the State Fair of Texas is the longest-running fair in the nation, in addition to being one of the largest, drawing more than two million attendees in past years.
Texas Metro News has always covered the Fair and staffer Nina Garcia is one of the unhappy fair-goers who, while understanding the seriousness of the coronavirus, is saddened by the cancellation.
“I never miss a year,” a clearly emotional Garcia said during a staff meeting, adding that visits to the Fair are a family tradition. Thoughts of food, rides, giveaways, vendors and shows.
Well, it’s going to be a long month for Garcia and others who looked forward to attending, and also for those who’s livelihood depends on fair patrons.
This is the first time the Fair has been cancelled since World War II. There are no plans to reschedule the big event in 2020, which was scheduled to run from Friday, September 24 through Sunday, October 17 in the historic Fair Park.
“After extensive consideration of the current landscape related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the health and safety of all fairgoers, staff, business partners, and overall community, the State Fair of Texas Board of Directors has voted to cancel the 2020 State Fair of Texas,” said State Fair of Texas President, Mitchell Glieber.
The State Fair which generated almost $65 million in revenue in 2019, typically provides thousands of jobs over the 24-day period that it’s open. Visitor spending has generated almost three times that amount in the past year.
State officials say that discussions around how to offer alternative events for food vendors are in progress. “The State Fair of Texas is considering all potential options as it relates to alternative activations in lieu of this year’s State Fair, within the current COVID-19 environment,” state officials noted in a statement. Other fair organizations around the country have attempted events in a manner that allows for safe social distancing.
“This was an extremely tough decision. The health and safety of all involved has remained our top priority throughout the decision-making process,” said Gina Norris, of the State Fair of Texas.
State Fair organizers have indicated that anyone who purchased a Season Pass or tickets for the 2020 State Fair of Texas will automatically receive a refund in the full amount of the ticket purchased, in addition to any additional order fees and shipping costs.