The Iowa State Fair is scheduled to start in 127 days. The annual event has been drawing over a million people to the fairgrounds in Des Moines for the past several years.
Iowa State Fair secretary and CEO Gary Slater says it’s way too early to speculate about how COVID-19 may impact the event that starts August 13th.
“Certainly we’ll have to make that decision prior to the fair, sometime in the summer,” Slater says, “but sometime within the next 70 to 90 days, I would guess.”
The fairgrounds were closed to the public in mid-March as Governor Reynolds started issuing orders to businesses to close. The World Pork Expo that was to be held on the fairgrounds in June has been cancelled. Slater says he’s monitoring COVID-19 developments on a daily basis.
“I think it’s a touch-and-go situation in the next couple of weeks as to how quickly the state can get back to any sense of normal,” Slater says.
The last time the Iowa State Fair was cancelled was during World War II. The state fairgrounds were used as a military supply depot between 1942 and 1945.
Slater posted a message on the Iowa State Fair’s website on Friday. Slater wrote that while there may be some changes related to COVID-19 protocols, he believes in uncertain times like these people will need the reassurance of State Fair traditions this summer.
(By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City)