DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – For the first time since WWII, The State Fair of Texas will not open in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement was made via Youtube on Tuesday.
“This was an extremely tough decision. The health and safety of all involved has remained our top priority throughout the decision-making process,” said Gina Norris, board chair for the State Fair of Texas. “One of the greatest aspects of the Fair is welcoming each and every person who passes through our gates with smiles and open arms. 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. 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.”
This is the eighth fair in its 134-year history to not go ahead as planned. The State Fair of Texas has previously canceled Fairs because of World War I (1918), planning for the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition and 1937 Pan American Exposition at Fair Park (1935 – 1937), and World War II (1942 – 1945).
“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 released the following statement about the cancellation.
“I love the State Fair of Texas, and I am saddened that I will not be able to take my family this year. 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.”
What does this mean for the historic college football rivalries during the Fair – State Fair Classic and AT&T Red River Showdown?
While the State Fair of Texas is canceled for 2020, the NCAA, respective conferences, and participating universities – the University of Texas & University of Oklahoma and Prairie View A&M University & Grambling State University – will be in charge of making decisions regarding the football games that occur at Cotton Bowl Stadium, according to the fair’s website.
If football is played in the fall, schools will play in the Cotton Bowl as scheduled, despite the fair’s cancellation.
The 2021 State Fair of Texas is scheduled to run Friday, September 24 through Sunday, October 17 in historic Fair Park.