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2020 Iowa State Fair Is Canceled

John Pemble
IPR File
The crowd during a day at the 2016 Iowa State Fair.

The 2020 Iowa State Fair is canceled due to concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. The Iowa State Fair Board in an 11 to 2 vote with anonymous paper ballots made the decision on Wednesday.

“It became a challenge to have a fair that we could all enjoy and be proud of,” Iowa State Fair Director Gary Slater told reporters after the vote. “Our surveys indicated that our attendance would be greatly reduced.”

Slater says fair officials did work on plans to hold the event with extra health precautions but ultimately the decision is clear.

“Let’s not damage our brand by offering something that’s less than our standards because we just have to get something out the door, or after to get people in the door,” Slater said.

Slater said a scaled-back and socially distanced fair would have lost as much money as they would have lost by not having a fair. Gov. Kim Reynolds said earlier in the day that she would support whatever decision the board made. Iowa follows neighboring Minnesota and Wisconsin in canceling their 2020 state fairs.

This is the first time the Iowa State Fair has been canceled since World War II.