UPDATE: Officials reverse course, cancel 2020 W.Va. State Fair
UPDATE: 6/18/20 10:45 A.M.
The board of directors of West Virginia's state fair reversed course and voted on Tuesday to cancel this summer's event after the most recent outbreak of COVID-19 cases in the area.
The last time the fair was canceled was in 1942-1945 for World War II.
"When we first discussed moving forward with the 2020 state fair, we knew it was a fluid situation that could change quickly," CEO Kelly Collins said.. "Unfortunately, the number of COVID-19 cases surged only hours after our initial announcement. After speaking with local and state health officials as well as community members, it was a hard decision, but the right decision to cancel."
Board chairman Ralph Warren said the initial decision to have the fair was based on information from state and local health officials and the low number of cases in the area at the time.
"We understood the situation has now changed, and the board felt it was important to act quickly," he said. "It's difficult to make this decision knowing the financial impact the state fair has to our state and community."
Officials said they are working to rescheduling concerts for 2021, and announcements will be made in the coming days. Once those announcements are made, ticket holders will be given the option of a refund, or to roll tickets over to the 2021 event.
Vendors and those with camping reservations will be contacted by a member of the fair's staff within the next few weeks.
The fair is also working with partners to create a Junior Market animal show and will have more information soon.
The 96th State Fair is scheduled Aug. 12-21, 2021.
For more information, please visit www.statefairofwv.com, or follow fair events on Facebook and Twitter.
For more information, please visit www.statefairofwv.com.
ORIGINAL STORY: 6/11/20
With support from local and state health officials, the State Fair of West Virginia Board of Directors has voted to move forward with the 2020 State Fair, scheduled for August 13 - 22.
In the interest of public health, numerous programming changes including limited crowds, changes to concerts and free entertainment, and increased advance ticket sales will be announced in the coming weeks. State Fair Officials will also be implementing measures for social distancing, enhanced cleaning procedures and COVID-19 testing for carnival employees and other groups working the fair. Specific procedures will be listed on the State Fair Website soon.
The State Fair of West Virginia works closely on public health issues with a variety of local and national public health agencies, including the Greenbrier County Health Department and Greenbrier Valley Medical Center. Fair organizers will continue to collaborate with these expert partners, watch for any new developments around COVID-19 that would impact the fair operation, and make modifications accordingly.
"The State Fair of West Virginia exists to strengthen the state of West Virginia and bring people together," said Board Chair Ralph Warren. "We will be working with our health officials over the next few months to make sure we are taking all necessary steps to protect our fairgoers, exhibitors, vendors, staff and community."
For more information about the fair, click on the related link to the right of this story.