At least 20 Minnesota counties have canceled their 2020 fair

Fair officials are finding it difficult to safely to hold a fair in 2020.

With the fate of the 2020 Minnesota State Fair possibly being announced on Friday, it's no surprise that smaller county fairs have been announcing cancellations throughout Minnesota over the past month because of concerns about social distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As of Thursday, at least 19 county fairs in Minnesota have been postponed until 2021. We'll add to this list as it grows. You can also keep tabs on the status of your county fair by finding your county fair's Facebook page. 

Aitkin County

The fair, scheduled for July 8-11, was officially canceled on May 7. "With 131 years of the Aitkin County Fair, we are sad to say, 'not this year.' We look forward to seeing you in 2021 at YOUR Aitkin County Fair," a fair official said. 

Benton County

Fair officials announced May 20 that this year's event has been canceled. "Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the current restrictions and the unknown future regarding large group gatherings and required protocol to became apparent that we would not be able to have a normal fair."

Cass County

Originally scheduled to happen June 25-28, the fair was canceled on April 21. "We will see you in 2021! If you would like to support the fair and assist with building maintenance and improvements we would be grateful!"

Clearwater County

Scheduled to happen Aug. 5-9, fair officials canceled the fair on May 19. "Regarding social distancing, sterilizing equipment, crowd control, and safety to the public, the staff and the exhibitors was a major concern for the board. Therefore, the Clearwater County Ag Society has cancelled the 2020 Clearwater County Fair." 

Freeborn County

Planned to be held Aug. 4-9, it was canceled May 5. "This was a very difficult decision for Freeborn County, but health, safety and financial stability must be the top focus. This decision was made in the best interest of all involved."

Grant County

The July 16-19 fair was canceled May 13. "The decision to cancel was difficult and not made lightly as it impacts many people and organizations in our county, but we feel it is the best decision for all involved."

Kandiyohi County

The announcement was made May 21. "We were hoping to not make this kind of announcement. But considering the current conditions and uncertainties of COVID-19 restrictions the board felt this was the best decision for the Kandiyohi County Fair and everyone involved in our Fair." 

Kittson County

The July 10-14 fair was canceled May 6. "It is with heavy heart after much discussion, the 131st Kittson County Fair will be canceled for 2020. With restrictions in place such as social distancing, ability to sterilize equipment, wearing masks and out of state travel, it would be exceedingly difficult to conduct the fair to the high standards that the board sets for itself each year."

Marshall County

The July 22-26 fair was canceled officially on May 6. "While cancelling an event like this is not an easy thing to do, all parties involved agreed that it is by the far the right thing to do. Safety of all persons attending or working at the fair is most important."

Norman County

Scheduled for June 24-27, it was canceled May 9. "There has been only one time in our 125-year history that the Norman County Fair has not been held. The irony is that too was caused by a virus during the 1918 Flu epidemic."

Pennington County

"Due to the global pandemic and the health concerns with large crowds the 2020 Pennington County Fair is cancelled. With safety being the primary requirement to operate a successful fair, social distancing requirements, sterilization, and other safety precautions being recommended and/or enforced by the federal and state governments to combat COVID-19 it is not possible to successfully operate a county fair in this environment."

Pine County

The decision to cancel was made May 15. "We were hoping not to make this kind of announcement. It is with great disappointment, the Pine County Fair Board announces the 2020 Pine County Fair will not be held this year."

Polk County

The decision to cancel was made May 5. "Given the restrictions concerning the COVID 19 pandemic; social distancing, wearing masks, the need to sterilize equipment, seating, basically everything associated with the fair was in jeopardy. The question is how to conduct a fair with those kinds of restrictions. The answer is you can’t."

Ramsey County

The July 15-19 fair was canceled May 7. "Cancelling the 2020 Ramsey County Fair was made in the best interest of all involved and was based upon information gained from the input of our fair stakeholders over the past thirty days. The decision was very difficult but will allow the fair to present in its 108th year in 2021."

Roseau County

The July 19-24 fair was canceled May 18. "Given the restrictions concerning the COVID 19 pandemic including; social distancing, wearing masks, disinfecting, seating and all things done to run a somewhat normal fair, it is apparent it would be impossible to host the fair this summer. The restrictions are in place and will continue through the foreseeable future in relation to large group gatherings like the county fair."

Sherburne County

It was canceled May 18. "We were hoping to not have to make this announcement but, after careful consultation with the county and other organizations regarding the health and safety of everyone in our community – our visitors, our volunteers, our exhibitors and our longtime fair partners – we have made the difficult decision to cancel the Sherburne County Fair, scheduled for July 18-21, 2020 in Elk River, MN."

Wadena County

The July 18-21 fair was canceled May 19. "The Wadena County Fair is centered around people: Educating people, Connecting People and Entertaining People. This year is no different, however this year we need to be focused on keeping people safe. Believe us, we would love nothing more than to eat cheese curds, watch livestock shows, ride the ferris wheel and take in a grandstand event, but the protocols put in place to protect people from Covid-19 are simply unrealistic for our volunteer organization to achieve, and the liability involved is too great for our volunteer organization to risk."

West Otter Tail County

The July 15-18 fair was canceled May 20. "Due to the current COVID-19 regulations on maintaining the proper social distancing and prohibition on mass social gatherings, canceling the 2020 fair has become the best choice. The health and safety of 4-H participants, families, fairgoers, vendors, concessionaires, performers and staff are our primary concern."

Wilkin County

The fair was canceled May 12. "The Wilkin County Fair Executive Board held a Zoom Meeting on May 12th and unanimously voted to cancel the 2020 Wilkin County Fair. This is the first time we have cancelled the Wilkin County Fair since 1918 due to the flu pandemic and here we are again in 2020 - we even managed through in 1997!"

Yellow Medicine County

The July 22-25 fair was canceled May 19. "The health and safety of our entire community, guests, volunteers, vendors, and exhibitors is our top priority. With this in mind, we cannot risk people becoming ill in connection with a large scale gathering such as the fair."

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