“Until we meet again” reads the message on the homepage for the State Fair of Texas.
For the first time since World War II, there will be no State Fair of Texas in Dallas this year. The event is being canceled due to the pandemic.
It is with a heavy heart that we must announce the #StateFairofTX will not open for the 2020 season. We can’t wait to welcome you back in 2021, in Texas-style of course, with the biggest and the best, “Howdy, Folks!” #BigTex For more info., please visit https://t.co/MUcfN1JeeF pic.twitter.com/OwCRTF3wmg— State Fair of Texas (@StateFairOfTX) July 7, 2020
The decision was reached after extensive input from fairgoers, concessionaires, commercial exhibitors, midway operators, auto manufacturers, business partners, staff, medical experts and government officials.
“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,” said Gina Norris, board chair for the State Fair of Texas. “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.”
Cancelation of the state fair does not extend to the annual Red River Shootout between Texas and Oklahoma. University of Texas athletic director Chris Del Conte is continuing to prepare for a game at the Cotton Bowl.
“We know the decision to cancel the fair was an extremely difficult one for everyone involved and that we all are dealing with a very fluid situation during these unprecedented times. But, as we’re doing with all of our fall season planning, we will continue to monitor the situation closely, work through contingencies and make the best possible decisions we can with the health, safety and well-being of everyone involved as our number one priority, ” Conti said.
The State Fair also hosts the State Fair Classic between Prairie View A&M and Grambling State.
Fair management is pledging to maintain funding for the Big Tex Youth Livestock Auction and livestock shows, Big Tex Scholarship Program, Big Tex Urban Farms, and various community outreach initiatives.
“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.
The state fair was canceled in 1918 because of World War I, from 1935-1937 to allow for planning for the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition and the Pan American Exposition in 1937 at Fair Park, and 1942-1945 during World War II.
The dates for the 2021 state fair are Sept. 24 through Oct. 17.