Iowa State Fair off in 2020
For the first time since World War II, Iowans will go without the State Fair this summer after the Iowa State Fair Board voted 11-2 Wedneasday to “postpone” the 2020 Iowa State Fair to 2021.
“The decision was complex and considered a wide array of factors,” State Fair CEO and Fair Manager Gary Slater said. “The Iowa State Fair’s top priority is protecting the health and safety of Fairgoers, staff, volunteers, exhibitors and entertainers. Amid the pandemic, we couldn’t, in good conscience, put on the Fair when we knew access to emergency safety services at the fair could be limited, public transportation to and from the Fair would not be possible, the constant sanitization of a seemingly infinite amount of high touch surfaces lacked feasibility and social distancing in lines to get your favorite fair food or walking the Grand Concourse would be difficult.”
The reality is the board didn’t postpone but canceled the 2020 edition of the State Fair.
The annual August extravaganza has been held every year since 1946. The last time the fair wasn’t held was in 1945, the fourth straight year the Fairgrounds were used for military training during World War II.
The fair board was under increasing pressure to make a decision after both Minnesota and Wisconsin canceled their annual fairs. Chris Stapelton, one of the grandstand acts, announced in May that he would not perform in Des Moines, and a few days later, officials from the Bill Riley Talent Search said they would not hold their annual contest.
Slater admitted that board members don’t have an exact idea on how the COVID-19 pandemic will look like in August, a decision was needed soon.
“Waiting any longer to make a decision would have been more potentially damaging to our great Fair partners and our planning.”
He added that the State Fair Board and management have already started the process of booking entertainment and planning for the 2021 Iowa State Fair that is scheduled to be held Aug. 12-22.