Iowa State Fair Board cancels 2020 edition

Wednesday, June 10, 2020
Allison Goehring of Milford created "Grateful for Goats, 2017" and won first place and $1,000 in that year's Agriculture Art Exhibit (Youth Division) contest at the Iowa State Fair. The 2020 edition of the Iowa State Fair was canceled Wednesday. (File Photo)

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Local officials are set to meet this week as determine if next month's Dickinson County Fair remains a possibility.

The discussions are taking place one week after the the Iowa State Fair Board voted to postpone the 2020 Iowa State Fair until Aug. 12-22, 2021, amid ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns. The board said its decision was made to protect the health and safety of all fairgoers.

"We are saddened to hear of the cancelation of the Iowa State Fair with that being said we understand the reasoning for canceling," Dickinson County Fair Manager John Guthrie said. "We are excited looking forward to 2021, and all the great State Fair traditions."

State Fair board members and administration said they reviewed current health guidelines and operating limitations. About 1 million people visit the Iowa State Fair over 11 days, so the board felt staging the 2020 event would not be responsible.

"The top priority of the Iowa State Fair has and always will be to protect the health and safety of fairgoers," Iowa State Fair Manager and CEO Gary Slater said. "While the decision of the Iowa State Fair Board today (June 10) will certainly come as a disappointment to many, the board determined that holding a fair in accordance with current health guidelines related to COVID-19 wasn't feasible. We appreciate the support of fairgoers over the past few months as we've reviewed various options for the 2020 Iowa State Fair. We certainly look forward to welcoming over one million people back to the fair in 2021."

The Iowa State Fair had been scheduled for Aug. 13-23. The Iowa State Fair Board said it delayed a decision as long as possible and believed it was important to make a decision on the fair in June in order to give concessionaires, vendors and fairgoers planning a trip to the fair ample notice.

In its June 10 statement, Iowa State Fair staff and management said they have already begun the process of booking entertainment and planning for the 2021 Iowa State Fair, which is scheduled for Aug. 12-22.

The ISU Extension Office in Spirit Lake will determine the county fair's viability. The 2020 edition of Dickinson County Fair is scheduled July 18-23.

"The Dickinson County Fair board realizes the importance of having a county fair," Guthrie said. "Many kids and parents spend countless hours prepping animals, doing projects, and attending meetings. The fair board also will take into account the current situation and try to keep not only the people involved with the fair safe, but also our community."

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