Kansas State Fair Cancels for First Time in Over 100 Years

Lincoln Martin shows his Duroc pig at the Kansas State Fair. ( Holly Martin )

For the first time in 106 uninterrupted years, the Kansas State Fair has been canceled due to COVID-19 concerns for 2020.

This reversal came after the board initially voted on June 30 to continue with the fair. Unfortunately, concerns from vendors and the community about the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the Kansas State Fair Board reconsidering their decision, according to a Kansas State Fair release

Although the traditional state fair won't happen, staff members are working to host both open class and youth livestock shows over three weekends beginning on Labor Day weekend. This includes the state’s premier Grand Drive youth show, which will take place Sept. 11-13. The board also will evaluate potential activities in the next month, the release said. 

“While we knew this year’s fair was going to be different, we realized we weren’t going to be able to provide the same annual tradition that Fairgoers have come to expect," Fair Board President Harmon Bliss said in a release. "While we are heartbroken there will not be a Kansas State Fair this year, we want to make sure the Fair is on solid footing for another 100 years.”

Kansas State Fair 2019 pig show exhibitors. Photo by Kelly Loganbill

All gate admission tickets, packages and food tickets already purchased will be valid for the 2021 Kansas State Fair scheduled for Sept. 10-19, 2021. Staff is currently working to reschedule the 2020 Nex-Tech Wireless Grandstand lineup. If rescheduled, those tickets also will be honored at next year’s fair. Refund information will be available soon at kansasstatefair.com

"We don’t know what the situation in Kansas will look like in September. But decisions must be made on what we know today,” Bliss said in the release. “Not seeing families and friends in 2020 will be disappointing. After all, the Kansas State Fair is not just an event. It is a tradition. It is a way of life. It is a showcase of the best of Kansas.”

Listen to state fair leaders Spencer Morris and Brian Bolan discuss the Indiana and Wisconsin State Fair cancellations on the Overhe(a)rd podcast. 

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