Brian Chilson
NOT THIS YEAR: No midway, no fair. But maybe a livestock show.

The board of the Arkansas State Fair, after earlier hoping to have an abbreviated version of the fair this year because of the pandemic, has now announced the 2020 Fair and is canceled, but they may still attempt to hold the livestock show portion of the event.

This means a dramatic reduction, at best in an event that, in a normal year, would have drawn hundreds of thousands over a planned run from Oct. 16 to 25.

The release:

The board of directors for the Arkansas Livestock Show Association, the organization that produces the annual  Arkansas State Fair, announced today the cancellation of the 2020 event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s event was scheduled for October 16 – 25.

General Manager Doug White said the board voted to authorize the cancellation of the 2020 fair, while leaving the door open for a possible livestock show during that same ten days in October.

“We have been closely monitoring COVID-19 data from local, state and federal health officials for the past few months, and we determined that it was in the best interest of the safety of our patrons, staff and our many sponsors to cancel this year’s fair,” stated White. “We always want to produce the best fair possible for the state of Arkansas and we felt we could not do that with the multitude of restrictions we would have to put in place.”

 

Board chair Bruce Maloch said the health and safety of all involved with the fair was the number one priority in the decision.

“We host well over 400,000 patrons every October and we want every single person to feel safe on our fairgrounds. Given the nature of a normal fair environment, we decided the most
responsible decision we could make would be to take this year off and come back bigger and better than ever in 2021.”

White added that every possible scenario for holding the 2020 event was considered.

 

“Like all state fairs, we have food concessionaires, carnival rides and games on the midway, commercial exhibitors, livestock exhibitors and support staff. We considered every possible
combination of what might work in this unprecedented time of COVID-19, and came to the conclusion that we could not host a traditional state fair based on the challenges inherent in large
crowds.”