Why couldn't we wait to decide?
In a typical year, preparing for an event the scale and scope of the State Fair is a year-round operation and a mammoth undertaking. While many of us have been able to pause some things over the past two months, we can’t hold off any longer. Supplies, food and equipment orders, travel plans, staffing and many more details all needed to be finalized now.
While we don’t know what September will bring, we do know that we have to make decisions based on what we know today, not what we hope the world will be like in September.
Our greatest responsibility is to ensure that the fair remains strong and resilient now and for future generations. If we continue planning, investing and purchasing what we can’t unwind, and if this ever-evolving health crisis takes a bad turn and forces our cancellation in a month or two or after we open our doors, we will have dug an immense hole that would be difficult to climb out of. This would affect our State Fair for many years. Moreover, we don’t want any of our partners, such as vendors, to be in that hole with us.
Why couldn't the Fair be postponed to later in the year?
The challenge is that the Kansas State Fair doesn’t operate in its own bubble. Our Fair is part of an intricate web of fairs and expositions across the country. Many of our vendors, exhibitors, midway operator, attractions and production equipment are a part of this web and travel from one event to another throughout the spring, summer and fall. Although many events have been canceled this year, it is logistically difficult for those who travel this circuit to crisscross the country.
Considering all of this, there are no other dates that are feasible - especially with a production the size and scope of the Kansas State Fair. We will instead move forward and prepare for the 2021 Kansas State Fair, scheduled for Sept. 10-19.How will the Fair survive without the 2020 fair revenue?
There is no doubt that we will face challenges, like every business and organization enduring this crisis. It will be hard for everyone whose livelihood is impacted by the State Fair. That includes not just our on grounds vendors, exhibitors and others, but the hotels, restaurants, main street shops, fuel stations and so much more. Our year-round, full-time staff remains committed to all that they can do to create the longstanding tradition and celebration in 2021 that fair fans have come to expect. We’re extremely grateful for the continued support of everyone who makes the Kansas State Fair possible.Has the Kansas State Fair ever been canceled?
No. Since its beginnings in 1913, the Kansas State Fair has operated continuously for 106 years. The Fair has made it through the Spanish Influenza and the polio epidemic. It was almost canceled in 1945 during World War II, but with the war ending that summer, Fair officials worked hard to make a September Fair happen.