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Wisconsin cancels 2020 State Fair

Wisconsin is the latest state to cancel its State Fair.  John Yingling is the State Fair Board Chairman.  Yingling tells Brownfield along with COVID-19 safety concerns, a decision to proceed or cancel had to be made soon to prevent wasted planning and promotion expenses. “We took this down right to the wire, right to the sort-of the last couple of days we could really make this decision and make it without having not only we as a fair having to make those investment decisions, but having our vendors and operators have to commit to making financial decisions.”

Yingling says it’s especially disappointing for the animal exhibitors that put so much time, money, and effort into preparing for the fair, but he says they are exploring alternatives for the animal exhibitors. “I’ve got a great chair of the Wisconsin State Fair Park Board Agriculture Committee who is also the vice-chair of the board, Susan Crane. She and her committee are exploring alternatives for this particular year yet and what we might be able to do.”

He says the board met several times in May to look at options and various models and scenarios, but they could find no safe path forward this year.

Yingling is confident vendors and exhibitors will be back and ready for 2021. “We have a long-time group of food and beverage vendors that we are very confident will be back.”

Yingling says the Expo Center at State Fair Park is on standby as a COVID-19 care center for the Milwaukee area, but so far, no patients have been brought there.  He says this was not a factor in the decision to cancel the State Fair.

The 169th Wisconsin State Fair was to run August 6th through the 16th

North Dakota canceled its fair in early May.  Ohio and Minnesota canceled their state fairs a week ago.  Several other Midwestern states are still evaluating if they should proceed.  Iowa State Fair officials reportedly will decide by mid-June if they will hold their event.

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