North Carolina State Fair canceled for first time since World War II

RALEIGH — The 2020 North Carolina State Fair has been canceled. State Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler made the announcement on Wednesday morning.

The cancellation marks the first time since World War II that the fair will not take place.

”We have hoped, we have prayed and we have thought and thought and thought but at the end of the day, it’s the only logical decision that we could make,” Troxler said.

The 2020 State Fair was scheduled to happen Oct. 15-25 at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.

“I can think of a thousand places I’d rather be today than here delivering this news,” Troxler said. “The State Fair is a tradition we all look forward to each year. It’s a vital economic engine for local non-profits, community groups, small businesses and individuals. It’s a time for family and friends to come together to celebrate everything that makes North Carolina such a great place to live. We waited as long as we could, hoping the numbers would take a turn and we’d be able to continue with our planning, but each day brought more challenges than solutions. To say the year 2020 has been a disappointment is a clear understatement.”

The fair is the biggest annual event in the state. Over the past ten years, nearly 18 million people have attended it. In five of those years, the event brought more than a million people to the fairgrounds.

Large crowds like that are the sort of thing health experts say allows the coronavirus to spread.

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A few weeks ago, state fair manager Kent Yelverton was focused on what restrictions might still be in place in October that could hinder the fair. But in the weeks since he spoke with our sister station, WTVD, the virus has not abated.

Other major fairs nationwide have been canceled, including the Texas state fair in Dallas, which was scheduled to start just three weeks before North Carolina’s.