According to the announcement, the fair will still move forward with agricultural and educational competitions for exhibitors, their families, and their guests.
The Ohio Expositions Commission members expressed concern for public health and the financial impact of holding an event that would need to adhere to safety protocols, as well as the lasting impact of the long-term viability of the fair, according to the announcement.
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“Although vaccination rates are improving significantly each day, Ohio continues to fight the battle against COVID-19. 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,” said General Manager Virgil Strickler in a prepared statement. “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.”
While this year’s fair will be limited to exhibitors and family members for youth and senior livestock competitions, as well as educational project judging for non-livestock competitions, the rides, concerts, food vendors, and music associated with typical fairs are expected to return next year.