Likely COVID cases too high to open state fair to public

Staff Writer

Members of the Ohio Expositions Commission weighed options for opening the Ohio State Fair to the public this year but decided the incidence of COVID-19 cases remains too high and the outlook for July was uncertain to stage a conventional fair.
Consequently, the commission decided to significantly limit the scope of the 2021 fair, choosing instead to focus on livestock competitions and ending with a modified sale of champions. The fair will not be open to the public and will be limited to exhibitors and their families for youth and senior livestock competitions along with educational project judging for non-livestock competitions, such as 4-H.
The anticipated start date for livestock shows is July 19 and will conclude Aug. 8. The entry deadline for exhibitors is June 20.
Many of the typical activities held at the fair – rides, concerts, food and vendors – are expected to return in 2022.
“Although vaccination rates are improving significantly each day, Ohio continues to fight the battle against COVID-19.” said Virgil Strickler, general manager of the commission. “ Where we are today in this battle makes it challenging to plan a large-scale entertainment event, not knowing where we will be, or what Ohio will look like, in late July. In addition, the important safety protocols that have been put in place to protect Ohioans, like indoor seating capacities, may lead to attendance that is considerably lower than previous years. The financial ramifications of hosting a typical Ohio State Fair with the same overhead costs, but far less revenue, could be devastating to our organization. In a typical year, the Ohio State Fair’s budget is designed to break even, with a nominal profit, if any. Hosting a full fair this year would likely lead to significant financial loss.”
The 2022 Ohio State Fair is slated for July 27 – August 27.


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