Sate Fair canceled as are most events at area county fairs

With COVID-19 continuing to pose a threat for residents state-wide, the difficult decision was made last week to cancel the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. 

A statement from the Fair Board is printed below:

The Iowa State Fair Board, the governing body who oversees the Iowa State Fair, today voted to postpone the 2020 Iowa State Fair until August 12-22, 2021, amid ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) concerns. The decision was made to protect the health and safety of all Fairgoers.

After a thorough review of possible options, while carefully reviewing current health guidelines and examining operating limitations, it became clear that holding the 2020 Iowa State Fair, which attracts approximately one million people over 11 days, 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. While the decision of the Iowa State Fair Board today 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,” said Iowa State Fair Manager and CEO Gary Slater. “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 August 13-23, 2020. The Iowa State Fair Board delayed a decision as long as possible and believed it was important to make a decision on the Fair now in order to give concessionaires, vendors and Fairgoers planning a trip to the Fair ample notice.

Iowa State Fair staff and management have already begun the process of booking entertainment and planning for the 2021 Iowa State Fair scheduled for August 12-22, 2021.


Allamakee County

The Allamakee County Fair was scheduled to bel held July 8-12.  The  Allamakee County Fair Board statement reads, “Although guidelines prevent us from having the full fair experience that we all know and love, we are still dedicated to offering the best experiences we can. At this time, we are sorry to inform you that the scheduled concert and rodeo have been cancelled; however, 4-H and FFA activities will occur with certain guidelines being implemented. The fair board continues to consider and evaluate the Governor’s Proclamations, as well as CDC and IDPH guidelines. More information regarding grandstand events and ground entertainment will be finalized as more information becomes available.”


Clayton County

This year’s Clayton County Fair, originally scheduled for the first week in August, is cancelled. Yet, they are hoping to still hold the 4-H and FFA shows.The announcement came on the fair’s Facebook page Tuesday, June 9. The Clayton County Agricultural Society has worked over the past month to discuss how to safely host the 166th Annual Clayton County Fair amidst the uncertainty of COVID-19. They have received guidance from state and city officials and the Clayton County Board of Health and they’ve also consulted with the Association of Iowa Fairs and International Association of Fairs and Expositions.

They are exploring alternative options for their 4-H/FFA exhibitors in both livestock and static project areas, working with the Clayton County Extension Office and Clayton County Extension Council to provide the best and safest opportunities for the youth based on CDC and health guidelines. Additional information will be available once that decision is made.

All other Clayton County Fair activities, including the concerts, bull bash, mutton busting, tractor pull, demo derby, royalty contest and food vendors, have been postponed until 2021.


Winneshiek County

The Winneshiek County Agricultural Association announced Tuesday it will not have grounds and entertainment activities at the 2020 fair in Decorah after receiving health and legal recommendations. The cancellation includes the Fair Races, Rodeo, Tractor Pull, Joe Stamm Band, and Saturday night acts Gabby Barrett and Jordan Davis. All carnival and grounds entertainment are also canceled. The Nitty Gritty Dirt band, scheduled for Friday night, had already canceled their appearance at the 2020 Fair.

Public Health comments, CDC guidelines, and legal guidance from the county attorney were considered throughout this decision making process in addition with the concern to keep residents of Winneshiek County safe and healthy.

The association believed CDC guidelines recommending 6-foot social distancing would be too difficult to enforce if they were still in place by the dates of the fair which were set for July 14-18.

“The rule also severely limits the Fair’s ability to remain financially viable due to the requirement of only 50 percent capacity at any event,” the association said in a Facebook post. “Revenue deficits are simply too great to overlook.”

The Fair Board is working with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach to find a workable solution to schedule the 4-H and FFA shows.


Fayette County

Following the Fayette County Fair Board meeting held Tuesday, June 2, the decision has been made to move forward with the 2020 Fayette County Fair. At this time, 4-H and FFA youth activities will occur with specific guidelines implemented. Some other scheduled fair events are proceeding at this time with modifications; however, these events are subject to change based on COVID-19 circumstances.

With ongoing input from board members, Fayette County Public Health, Fayette County Emergency Management, community members, county and local law enforcement, and various other partners, the Fair Board will be following CDC and IDPH guidelines in addition to the Governor’s Proclamation restrictions. More details on youth events, grandstand events and other fair events will be shared going forward.


The Postville Herald

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