The State Fair of Texas, the longest running state fair in the United States, has just announced it is skipping the 2020 season — another victim of the pandemic sweeping Texas and the country. This is the first time since World War II the fair has not opened.
In early March, as the pandemic began hitting its stride in Houston, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo made the decision to shut down for the year after a COVID-19 case emerged of a man who attended a barbecue cookoff there before the rodeo started.
On the State Fair of Texas website it announced:
With a heavy heart, we are announcing that the State Fair of Texas will not open for the 2020 season. We believe the spirit of the Lone Star state lies in every Texan’s ability to care and look out for their neighbor and it is with this in mind, we have decided to keep our guests, staff, and partners safe and healthy during these uncertain times.
According to the site, this is the eighth fair in its 134 year history that has been canceled. Previously it cancelled fairs "because of World War I (1918), planning for the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition and 1937 Pan American Exposition at Fair Park (1935 – 1937), and World War II (1942 – 1945)."
The decision made by the fair's board of directors and management team, came after they considered how they might still present the fair and protect attendees against COVID-19. Unable to be certain they could prevent any further spread of the virus, they decided not to open their gates this year.
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Holders of season tickets are given directions on the site about how to seek refunds.
While the State Fair of Texas is canceled for 2020, the NCAA, respective conferences, and participating universities – the University of Texas & University of Oklahoma and Prairie View A&M University & Grambling State University – will be in charge of making decisions regarding the football games that occur at Cotton Bowl Stadium during this unprecedented time of COVID-19. Should football be played this fall, the schools will be playing in the Cotton Bowl as scheduled, despite the cancellation of the 2020 State Fair. We will share those details as soon as we know more.
The fair is scheduled to return to Fair Park in Dallas in 2021 from September 24 through October 17, 2021.