• 48°

North Carolina State Fair canceled for 2020

The North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services issued a press release Wednesday morning stating that, since March, that agency and the North Carolina State Fair and have been monitoring COVID-19 guidance released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to determine operating plans needed to produce the largest annual event held in North Carolina.

“After careful consideration and due to the continued uncertainty of conditions come October, the N.C. State Fair will not be held in 2020,” stated the release. The fair was scheduled to take place Oct. 15 through 25.

“I can think of a thousand places I’d rather be today than here delivering this news,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “The State Fair is a tradition we all look forward to each year. It’s a vital economic engine for local non-profits, community groups, small businesses and individuals. It’s a time for family and friends to come together to celebrate everything that makes North Carolina such a great place to live. We waited as long as we could, hoping the numbers would take a turn and we’d be able to continue with our planning, but each day brought more challenges than solutions.”

According to Wednesday’s statement, the decision to cancel this year’s fair was based on:

– safety and health of visitors, vendors, competitors and staff,

– current COVID-19 statistics in the state,

– North Carolina’s pause in Phase II of reopening thus limiting the size of gatherings,

– contracts that cannot be canceled at the last minute without a financial impact on the N.C. State Fair and the vendor

– the long-term financial health of the N.C. State Fair.

Fair officials reportedly determined holding a fair that abides by the CDC and NCDHHS recommendations would not be possible. “We looked at so many different factors,” said Kent Yelverton, fair manager. “From social distancing, face masks, temperature checks and capacity limits to the true minutia most wouldn’t think about until you are in the moment like social distancing on our shuttle buses, cleaning carnival equipment between riders, overlapping food lines and stringent cleaning schedules. To offer anything less than what fairgoers have come to know and love would be a disservice to our community and to us. There is no halfway when producing a fair. The people, the lights, the rides, the smells, the music . . . all of that contributes to an atmosphere that can only be felt during a fair.”

August 16 marks the 60-day window until the planned opening day of the 2020 fair. The decision to cancel is being made now to mitigate expenses for an event that likely would not be able to open. The N.C. State Fair costs around $6.8 million annually to produce. Many contracts currently in place have a 60-day stipulation for cancelation with no penalty. The N.C. State Fair is a self-supporting enterprise that has had 186 events canceled, resulting in an estimated $2.3 million loss in revenue since February.

“The heart of the N.C. State Fair has always been and will continue to be our ability to showcase North Carolina agriculture. To stay true to that commitment, we will be holding our Junior Livestock Show and State Fair Horse Shows in October,” Troxler said. “By utilizing both the Graham Building and Expo Center and spreading the junior show out through all 11 days of what would have been the fair dates, we will be able to host a livestock show that allows for proper social distancing. These kids have worked so hard all year to show at the State Fair, and I’m glad we’ve found a safe way to make that happen.”

The N.C. State Fair Division will now shift gears to focus on hosting year-round events that can abide by CDC and NCDHHS guidelines and looking toward the future of the 2021 N.C. State Fair. “I can assure you we will be hard at work planning a great 2021 State Fair,” Troxler said.

Organizers state the N.C. State Fair has operated as the premiere agricultural exhibition in the state since 1853 and say this year’s cancelation is not without precedent: “From 1861-1868, the N.C. State Fair was canceled due to the Civil War and Reconstruction. In 1918, the N.C. State Fair was canceled due to World War I. In 1926 and 1927, there was no fair due to reorganization after the North Carolina Agricultural Society, the then-fair’s operating board, was disbanded. The most recent cancelation was due to World War II from 1942-1945.”

The 2021 N.C. State Fair is slated for Oct. 14-24 at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.

READ ABOUT MORE NEWS AND EVENTS HERE.

RECENT HEADLINES:

Cooper: Alcohol sales at N.C. restaurants ending earlier

Great American Outdoors Act passes U.S. House

Crime

Ex-Rep. Hayes pardoned by Trump for role in bribery scandal

News

$642,767 Cash 5 jackpot win leaves Craven County retiree feeling ‘blessed’

News

Dare public schools stay with remote learning

News

Dare Planning Board looks at three developments and camping cabins

Crime

Marshals offer $5K reward for arrests in fatal NC shooting

News

Amtrak cancels trains in Virginia, limits route of The Carolinian ahead of inauguration

News

Teen bicyclist dies after collision with car in North Carolina

Crime

Three dead and one hospitalized in apparent domestic case in North Carolina

Crime

Four NC men charged with murder after body found in trunk of car

News

Coast Guard, good Samaritan rescue man after vessel sinks

News

North Carolina weekly gas price update

Crime

Family of slain North Carolina man seeks answers decades after his death

News

Martin Luther King Jr. day featured in National Parks

News

Dorothy Schmidt Cole, oldest living Marine, dies at 107

News

COVID-19 outbreak reported at Dare Detention Center

News

Cluster home development approved in Kill Devil Hills

News

Business as usual in Manteo

News

Trash schedule for Martin Luther King Jr. holiday set

Lifestyles

North Carolina Coastal Federation seeks applicants for environmental award

News

Update on COVID-19 cases, vaccinations

Lifestyles

Martin Luther King Birthday Celebration is virtual Jan. 16

News

NC panel recommends boosting transportation spending by 40%

News

Lawsuit seeks more protection for endangered right whales

Crime

Kill Devil Hills Police Department releases December crime blotter