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State fair axed

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Expositions Commission announced Thursday that it will cancel the 2020 Ohio State Fair, originally scheduled for July 29 through Aug. 9 in Columbus.

In a story on its web site, members expressed concern for public health, as well as the financial feasibility of hosting a socially distant fair that would adhere to social distancing protocols and its impact on the long-term viability of the fair.

Andy Doehrel, chairman of the commission, was quoted as saying that “After careful thought and deliberation, we have decided to cancel the Ohio State Fair. Knowing how easily the virus spreads in large groups, we believe it is the safest path forward for the health and safety of all Ohioans.”

“The financial ramifications of hosting a reduced-capacity fair would be too great, and we need to protect the great Ohio State Fair for future generations,” he added.

Virgil Strickler, general manager of the Ohio Expo Center & State Fair, also was quoted in the story. “Our first priority is the safety of the hundreds of thousands of people involved in the Ohio State Fair each year. While this is a difficult decision, we feel it is necessary to protect the fairgoers, exhibitors, volunteers, vendors, partners, performers, concessionaires, youth leaders, employees and sponsors. I look forward to seeing my fellow Ohioans at the 2021 Ohio State Fair, when it is safer for us to enjoy our favorite traditions together.”

Last year’s fair attracted nearly 935,000 people during its 12-day run.

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