State Fair of Texas canceled

Big Tex will be silent this year at Fair Park in Dallas. (File)
Big Tex will be silent this year at Fair Park in Dallas. (File)(WOWT)
Published: Jul. 7, 2020 at 11:21 AM CDT|Updated: Jul. 8, 2020 at 9:38 AM CDT
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DALLAS, Texas (KWTX) - The State Fair of Texas won’t open for the 2020 season because of the COVID-19 pandemic, organizers announced Tuesday.

“This was an extremely tough decision,” said Gina Norris, board chair for the State Fair of Texas.

“The health and safety of all involved has remained our top priority throughout the decision-making process,” she said.

“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.”

“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,” she said.

The fair will maintain its commitment to promoting agriculture, education, and community involvement, organizers said.

Decisions about whether the annual Texas-Oklahoma and Prairie View A&M-Grambling football games will be played at the Cotton Bowl rest with the NCAA, the conferences and the individual schools.

It is with a heavy heart that we must announce the State Fair of Texas will not open for the 2020 season. Our mission at...

Posted by State Fair of Texas on Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The decision to cancel the fair was made with input from fairgoers, concessionaires, commercial exhibitors, Midway operators, auto manufacturers, business partners, staff, medical experts, and government officials, organizers said.

“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,‘” said Mitchell Glieber, president of the State Fair of Texas.

Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said the fair’s board made the right decision.

“I love the State Fair of Texas, and I am saddened that I will not be able to take my family this year,” he said.

“But the State Fair made the safe and responsible decision. COVID-19′s spread is rampant in our community, and public health must come first. We all have to do what it takes to slow this virus so we can save lives and livelihoods and get back to doing what we enjoy.”

Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo officials, meanwhile say they’ve set an Aug. 1 deadline to make a decision about this fall’s event.

“Even if we can’t have the full fair, we are working out contingencies for specific aspects,” Vice President of Marketing and Sponsorship Development Charva Ingram said in an email.

The first Texas State Fair opened on Oct. 25, 1886 on a section of a farm in north Dallas.

The rival Dallas Exposition opened its fair the next day.

Both were successful, and together they drew about 35,000 people a day.

Eventually the two groups merged to form the Texas State Fair and Dallas Exposition, which later became the State Fair of Texas.

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