The famous Minnesota State Fair was canceled, Friday, amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
The fair was canceled after state officials expressed concern about the privately run event which was slated to occur over 12 days in late August. Minnesota’s fair is the second largest in the nation and usually draws about 2 million visitors, generating over $268 billion in revenue for the Twin Cities with 0 government investment. This year marks its first cancellation since 1946.
“During the last couple of months, we’ve been doing everything we can to present the fair this year,” says Jerry Hammer, the State Fair’s general manager. However “this is the time of year, right now, where we really need to take off, but we’re out of runway, we can’t get it in the air, and there will be no State Fair this year.”
Hammer cited concerns for the public health as a reason for the cancelation, adding that a socially distanced fair with masked participants wouldn’t be the full on celebration that Minnesotans have come to enjoy.
“It’s kind of hard to celebrate with a mask,” and “that’s just not the fair at all” he says.
Hammer also says that it will be hard to “hold everything together and keep the operation going with no revenue,” but that the fair “will be ok for this year.”
Governor Tim Walz has alluded to the possibility of of a canceled State Fair since late April when he described the event as “the worst thing for COVID-19 control,” according to local media.
“We’ll see you next year at the Great Minnesota Get-Back-Together,” writes fair organizers in a letter to Minnesotans.