By Will Johnson
EAST TEXAS – Every year during late September/early October, the city of Dallas welcomes visitors from all over the state, nation and world to come enjoy the State Fair of Texas. As guests enter the park, Big Tex greets everyone with “Howdy, folks! Welcome to the State Fair of Texas!” Until now.
For the first time since World War II, the State Fair of Texas has been cancelled. On Tuesday morning, July 7, officials with the fair released a statement informing the public about the decision.
According to the statement, the State Fair of Texas Board of Directors voted to cancel the 2020 State Fair of Texas “… after extensive consideration of the current landscape related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the health and safety of all fairgoers, staff, business partners, and the overall community.
“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,” Norris added.
The press release from the Fair’s Board of Directors went on to state they realize the impact not holding a Fair will have on loyal fans, valued partners, and the North Texas economy, but cautioned they must do what is right for the health and wellness of our community.
Football is still King in Texas, however, and the Fair Board addressed the two gridiron match-ups held during the Fair’s annual run.
“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 during this unprecedented time of COVID-19. Should football be played this fall, the schools will be playing in the Cotton Bowl as scheduled, despite the cancellation of the 2020 State Fair. We will share those details as soon as we know more,” the statement indicated.
The 2021 State Fair of Texas is scheduled to return Friday, Sept. 24 and run through Sunday, Oct. 17 in Fair Park.
Last week, it was announced the Texas Mushroom Festival, held in Madisonville, had been canceled.
A statement on the Texas Mushroom Festival website indicated, “The Texas Mushroom Festival announces the cancellation of the annual Texas Mushroom Festival, scheduled for October 17, 2020. After much deliberation, the decision was made to protect the safety of our staff, volunteers, vendors, sponsors and most of all our attendees and in the light of the public health concerns and financial strains brought upon by COVID-19.”
In an interview with KBTX-TV3, Jill Barnes, President of the Texas Mushroom Festival stated, “Making this decision was not easy because we look forward to this event each year. However, it was necessary. We will continue to plan for next year, and we will take this as an opportunity to improve 2021 even more.”
Kiefer Likens, Vice President of the TMF added, “It was a truly a hard decision to make, cancelling the festival this year is depressing, but it had to be done. We have people that attend from all over the south.”
Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.