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No Minnesota State Fair this year because of coronavirus

There will be no Minnesota State Fair this year, because of COVID-19. There will be no Minnesota State Fair this year, because of COVID-19. |  Photo: Hubbard Broadcasting, file

Updated: May 22, 2020 11:43 AM

Not very fun news on a Friday. The Minnesota State Fair has been canceled for 2020.

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"We all love the fair, and that's exactly why we can't have a fair," State Fair CEO Jerry Hammer said in a video conference with the State Fair Board shortly before the board formally voted to cancel the fair for this year.

"A big part of our mission is that we're accessible to all. And in effect, what some of the folks are saying is "let the healthy people go." Well, that's not who we are, that's not what we do. It's gotta be accessible for everybody."

A visit to the Great Minnesota Get Together is a tradition for millions. Hammer explained that staff had been continuing to move forward as if the fair would happen until it became clear that conditions would not allow the fair to happen.

"No one knows what things will be like at fair time, but we need to make decisions now based on what we know today, not how we hope things will be in August. And right now, all of the science says that if things go well, we’ll still be walking very carefully in three months. That’s far from ready to run a mass gathering marathon like the State Fair. Can you see social distancing on a Park & Ride bus, or at the Bandshell? One at a time on the Giant Slide? Can you imagine standing six feet apart in line for cookies? Me neither," Hammer said in a statement posted on the fair's website.

This is the sixth time the Minnesota State Fair has been canceled. The last was in 1946 due to a polio epidemic.

"This is temporary, and that's what we have to consider. It's going to be a tough road, no doubt about it. To have an operation like this? The size of the fair, as complex as it is, with so many tens of thousands of people directly effected to their business or their participation somehow. It's a hard thing to do, but it's this year... it's temporary. What we need to concentrate on is the future & what's best for the fair."

Many county fairs have already been canceling their events, and major events such as Grandma's Marathon, the Lumberjack World Championships, and the Spooner Rodeo have been postponed until next year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2020 WDIO-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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