The State Fair of Texas. Photo credit: Allison V. Smith for The Texas Tribune
The State Fair of Texas, slated for this fall, was canceled Tuesday because of ongoing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, fair organizers said in a public statement.
“One of the greatest aspects of the Fair is welcoming each and every person who passes through our gates with smiles and open arms,” said Gina Norris, board chair for the State Fair of Texas, in a written statement. “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.”
Organizers said the fair, a longstanding tradition for many Texans, is scheduled to run next year from Sept. 24 through Oct. 17 in Fair Park, located in Dallas. More than 2.5 million people attended the fair last year.
Fair organizers said this is its first cancellation since World War II.
Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson said in a statement that he was saddened by the closure, but that the organization made the right decision.
“COVID-19’s spread is rampant in our community, and public health must come first,” he said. “We all have to do what it takes to slow this virus so we can save lives and livelihoods and get back to doing what we enjoy.”
This is the latest of a number of high profile cancellations in Texas related to the pandemic, including the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and the South by Southwest and Austin City Limits Music Festival in Austin.
As coronavirus cases have climbed in the state, Gov. Greg Abbott has banned outdoor gatherings of 10 people or more unless local officials approve. Amusement parks and water parks, however, are allowed to operate at 50% capacity in the state.