CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The North Carolina State Fair will be canceled this fall for the first time since World War II.
North Carolina State Fair organizers say the cancellation is due to COVID-19, which they have been monitoring since March.
“After careful consideration and due to the continued uncertainty of conditions come October, the N.C. State Fair will not be held in 2020,” organizers announced Wednesday.
The fair was scheduled to take place in Raleigh from October 15 through October 25.
“I can think of a thousand places I’d rather be today than here delivering this news,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “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.”
Organizers started planning for the State Fair in November, but recently realized the difficulties with sanitizing, managing food lines and cleaning equipment between rides amid COVID-19.
“We looked at so many different factors,” said Fair Manager Kent Yelverton. “From social distancing, face masks, temperature checks and capacity limits to the true minutia most wouldn’t think about until you are in the moment.”
The N.C. State Fair costs around $6.8 million each year to produce.
“What we ultimately determined is that our correct course of action to do our part for the health and safety of our community and to mitigate the potential spread of COVID-19 is to cancel the 2020 N.C. State Fair,” organizers say.
Staff will being planning for the 2021 N.C. State Fair in the weeks ahead.
The N.C. State Fair has operated since 1853. “The most recent cancellation was due to World War II from 1942-1945,” organizers say.
The 2021 N.C. State Fair is scheduled for Oct. 14-24 at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.