Forget the rides, the games and the food. There will be no Maryland State Fair this year.
Fair officials announced Wednesday they have to cancel the 12-day annual event to combat the spread of COVID-19.
The fair was to begin August 27 and run through September 7 at the state fairgrounds in Timonium. The decision to cancel the fair this year was not made lightly, according to General Manager Andy Cashman.
“It’s just the numbers and safety and social distancing, and just trying to have an event where you have 500,000 people,” Cashman said. “It’s just difficult.”
Cashman said the vendors are upset about the fair being canceled. He said the people who run the rides have not been able to work at all this season.
“They haven’t moved,” Cashman said. “They haven’t been able to do anything, get out on the road, and do any carnivals, any fairs.”
Fair President Donna Myers said that they are disappointed but know this decision is in the best interest and health of the vendors, exhibitors, staff and visitors.
“We are thankful for their continued support,” Myers said.
Maryland State Fair Board Chairman Gerry Brewster said they will allow youth and open class exhibitors in Maryland to show animals in livestock shows, but they will not be open to the public.
“This will allow Maryland’s youth to showcase their hard work and will also allow the Maryland State Fair to fulfill its mission to educate and to showcase Maryland Agriculture,” Brewster said.
The Maryland State Fair is Baltimore County’s top tourist attraction. County Executive Johnny Olszewski agreed with the decision to cancel it.
“I share the disappointment of so many in the postponement of this Maryland tradition, but look forward to it coming back next year,” Olszewski said in a statement.
During its 142-year history, the only other time the only other time the fair has been canceled was during World War Two when the fairgrounds were used by the U.S. Army.