INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana State Fair won’t happen in 2020 because of the COVID-19 health emergency, the Indiana State Fair Commission and Indiana State Fair Board announced Thursday.
“Safety is our number one priority. We’ve spent months working through options that would allow us to host the Fair,” Cindy Hoye, executive director of the Indiana State Fair Commission, stated in a press release. “Agriculture and youth are the foundation of our mission and the heartbeat of the Indiana State Fair, so we are determined and proud to honor our 4-H members with a version of that state fair experience that allows Indiana’s youth to be recognized for their dedication and hard work.”
While the state fair is canceled, the two groups said there will be a “modified” livestock 4-H show “with additional activities” that will take place at the fairgrounds in August. It will focus on human and animal connections, development and youth education.
Entries to the 2020 Indiana State Fair will be automatically refunded, and people wishing to participate in the 4-H Livestock Show must re-enter beginning June 26.
“Unfortunately, key elements, including vendors and partners of the fair, began falling off and so we pivoted and found a way to still serve our communities,” Brad Chambers, Indiana State Fair Commission chairman, stated in a press release.
Stage 5 of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s “Back on Track Indiana” plan, which would start July 4 pending the COVID-19 situation a the time, would have allowed all large events, including the state fair, to proceed.
“While we are not sure what August will look like, we have to make decisions based on what we know today,” state fair officials said.
Postponing the state fair also was not an option.
“The state fair is a collaborative effort between many partners, including the carnival, entertainers, food vendors, sponsors and more,” officials said. “Unfortunately, picking up the state fair that we all love and moving it to another time of the year is not possible.”
In 2019, nearly 879,000 people attended the Indiana State Fair.
According to officials, 2020 Indiana State Fair Queen Claudia Duncan, of Vanderburgh County, will reign through the 2021 Indiana State Fair. There will not be a 2021 Indiana State Fair Queen Pageant in January 2021, and all county queens who qualify in 2020 and 2021 will be eligible to participate in the 2022 Indiana State Fair Pageant.
People who have purchased a 2020 ticket to the state fair will be allowed to use them for the 2021 Indiana State Fair, scheduled for Aug. 6-21, 2021. Those who wish to receive a refund must contact the Indiana State Fair at email@example.com.
Last week, Purdue Extension White County announced it will still stage its annual fair for 4-H members, but it will be closed to the public. It will have a “show and go” livestock show and virtual events.
This is not the first time the Indiana State Fair has been modified or did not take place. During the Civil War and World War II, the fairgrounds was used to support the war efforts.