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State Fair of Texas canceled for 2020 due to COVID-19

This will be the eighth fair in its 134-year history that has been canceled.

DALLAS — The State Fair of Texas has announced the 2020 event has been canceled.

The SFOT issued the following statement on Tuesday regarding their decision:

After extensive consideration of the current landscape related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the health and safety of all fairgoers, staff, business partners, and overall community, the State Fair of Texas Board of Directors has voted to cancel the 2020 State Fair of Texas.  

 This was an extremely tough decision. The health and safety of all involved has remained our top priority throughout the decision-making process,” said Gina Norris, board chair for the State Fair of Texas. “One of the greatest aspects of the Fair is welcoming each and every person who passes through our gates with smiles and open arms. In the current climate of COVID-19, there is no feasible way for the Fair to put proper precautions in place while maintaining the Fair environment you know and loveWhile we cannot predict what the COVID-19 pandemic will look like in September, the recent surge in positive cases is troubling for all of North Texas. The safest and most responsible decision we could make for all involved at this point in our 134-year history is to take a hiatus for the 2020 season.”  

The Fair’s commitment to our nonprofit mission of promoting agriculture, education, and community involvement will continue. The Big Tex Youth Livestock Auction and livestock shows, Big Tex Scholarship Program, Big Tex Urban Farms, and our community outreach initiatives will continue to have funding and we commit to maintaining as many participation opportunities as possible as it relates to livestock and creative arts 

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 decision-making process has been thoughtful and extensive.

The Fair realizes the impact not holding a Fair will have on our loyal fans, valued partners, and the North Texas economy, but we must do what is right for the health and wellness of our community.  

With health and safety as the top priority, the management team and the board of directors have been discussing all potential scenarios since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The team has brainstormed many ways to make this year’s event occur, creating various contingency plans and approaches, but knows that all these plans fail if our annual celebration of Texas contributes to any further spread of the virus through our community.  

While we are heartbroken at the notion of not welcoming more than 2.5 million of our closest friends for this annual celebration of the Lone Star State, the excitement we feel in moving forward with planning the 2021 State Fair of Texas and keeping this 134-year tradition alive will keep us motivated until we can greet our fairgoers, seasonal staff, and business partners again in a safe environment,” said Mitchell Glieber, president of the State Fair of Texas. 

This will be the first time since World War II that the State Fair of Texas has not opened. The State Fair of Texas has previously canceled 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 2021 State Fair of Texas is scheduled to run Friday, September 24 through Sunday, October 17 in historic Fair Park.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Why was the State Fair of Texas canceled?

After extensive consideration of the current landscape related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the health and safety of all fairgoers, staff, business partners, and overall community, the State Fair of Texas Board of Directors has voted to cancel the 2020 State Fair of Texas.

This was an extremely tough decision. This will be the first time since World War II that the State Fair of Texas has not opened. The decision-making process has been thoughtful and extensive. With the recent increase in positive cases and hospitalizations in Dallas County we felt that this was the best decision for all parties. The Fair gathered input from fairgoers, concessionaires, commercial exhibitors, Midway operators, auto manufacturers, business partners, staff, medical experts, and government officials in contemplation of this decision. The Fair realizes the impact not holding a Fair will have on our loyal fans, valued partners, and the North Texas economy, but we must do what is right for the health and wellness of our community.

Who made the decision to cancel the 2020 State Fair of Texas?

With health and safety as the top priority, the State Fair’s management team and the board of directors have been discussing all potential scenarios since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The team has brainstormed many ways to make this year’s event occur, creating various contingency plans and approaches, but knows that all these plans fail if our annual celebration of Texas contributes to any further spread of the virus through our community. With all of this in mind, on July 7, 2020, the State Fair of Texas Board of Directors voted to officially cancel the 2020 State Fair of Texas due to COVID-19 concerns.

Is this the first time the State Fair of Texas has been canceled?

No; This will be the eighth Fair in our 134-year history that has been canceled. The State Fair of Texas has previously canceled 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).

Is the Fair planning any alternative activities or events?

The State Fair of Texas is considering all potential options as it relates to alternative activations in lieu of this year’s State Fair, within the current COVID-19 environment. We will announce any alternative activations at BigTex.com and through our social media channels. To be the first to know, sign up for the Big Tex Insider e-newsletter at BigTex.com/Insider.

Will there be any virtual Fair events?

The State Fair of Texas is considering all potential options as it relates to alternative activations in lieu of this year’s State Fair, within the current COVID-19 environment. We will announce any alternative activations at BigTex.com and through our social media channels. To be the first to know, sign up for the Big Tex Insider e-newsletter at BigTex.com/Insider.

Will there be a 2021 State Fair of Texas?

Yes; The Fair will return in 2021 to historic Fair Park. The 2021 State Fair of Texas is scheduled for Friday, September 24 through Sunday, October 17, 2021.

With the loss of its largest fundraiser of the year, will the Fair be able to continue funding its nonprofit mission of supporting agriculture, education, and community involvement?

Yes; While canceling the 2020 State Fair of Texas will result in a significant financial loss, we are fortunate to be in a healthy financial position at this time to continue to support our nonprofit mission until we are able to open the Fair in 2021.

The Big Tex Youth Livestock Auction and livestock shows, Big Tex Scholarship Program, Big Tex Urban Farms, and our community outreach initiatives will continue to have funding. In addition, we commit to maintaining as many participation opportunities as possible as it relates to livestock and creative arts. Stay tuned for more updates on these contests.

Will the Fair still be able to fund its financial obligations to the city of Dallas for Fair Park?

Yes; Following the results of the 2019 State Fair of Texas, the Fair committed $2.5 million to the city of Dallas in 2020 towards upkeep of Fair Park. In addition, the Fair currently pays $1.55 million in annual rent to the city of Dallas to call Fair Park home of the State Fair of Texas.

I’ve already bought season passes. What are my options?

The State Fair of Texas greatly appreciates the support of its loyal season pass holders. Following the cancellation of the 2020 State Fair of Texas, the Fair will automatically issue refunds for those who have already purchased tickets and season passes. No further action is required on your behalf. You will automatically receive a refund in the amount of your full purchase price including order fees and shipping. Please allow 10-14 days from the date of cancellation for the refund to be processed by your bank or financial institution. If you have any questions, please contact tickets@bigtex.com.

Can I use leftover coupons next year?

Yes; State Fair of Texas coupons for food, beverages, and rides never expire. Hold on to those for next year’s Fair.

I wanted to show my project animal or participate in the creative arts contests. What are my options?

We commit to maintaining as many participation opportunities as possible as it relates to livestock and creative arts. We will communicate information related to these as soon as possible. In the meantime, if you have any urgent questions concerning livestock, please contact livestock@bigtex.com, and for urgent questions concerning Creative Arts, please contact creativearts@bigtex.com.

What does this mean for the historic college football rivalries during the Fair – State Fair Classic and AT&T Red River Showdown?

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.

I’m a Big Tex Scholar. Will my Big Tex Scholarship still be funded?

Yes; The Fair remains committed to our nonprofit mission of promoting agriculture, education, and community involvement. The Big Tex Scholarship Program will proceed as normal, funding all current recipients. In addition, the 2021 application will be open Friday, September 25, 2020 through Monday, February 1, 2021. To learn more about the Big Tex Scholarship Program or how to donate, please visit BigTex.com/Scholarship.

Will you be accepting applications to the Big Tex Scholarship Program?

Yes; The State Fair of Texas is committed to awarding eligible graduating high school seniors with new college scholarships in 2021. The application will be open Friday, September 25, 2020 through Monday, February 1, 2021. To learn more about the Big Tex Scholarship Program or how to donate, please visit BigTex.com/Scholarship.

Can I still purchase 2020 themed merchandise?

Yes; Our website, BigTexStore.com, will feature merchandise with 2020’s theme, “Celebrating Texas Icons.”

If your question relates to a specific department, please feel free to reach out to the contacts below:

Note: Due to high volume, response time may be delayed.