The cancelation of the 2020 Minnesota State Fair came as a big blow to many a Minnesotan, but an even bigger blow for the vendors reliant on the potentially lucrative festival.
The COVID-19 outbreak has caused the fair to be called off for the first time since the 1946 polio epidemic, with the Board of Managers of the Minnesota State Agricultural Society voting on Friday to cancel.
Among those commenting publicly about the cancelation is the most famous vendor at the fair, Sweet Martha's Cookies, which across its three locations rakes in almost $4.75 million over the course of the 12-day fair.
"Our hearts are heavy with the cancellation of the Minnesota State Fair," the company said on Friday.
"Though we'll dearly miss the Great Minnesota Get-Together this year, our priority is the safety of our community: the energetic workers that dance their way through the 12 days; our enthusiastic patrons who come to enjoy the arts, agriculture, and treats of our adored state; and our fellow vendors that work so hard to bring you an unforgettable experience. We look forward to seeing all of our cookie lovers in 2021!"
Another business commenting is The Perfect Pickle, which occupies a prominent position at Liggett Street and Dan Patch Avenue.
"It is a sad day for us all," it posted on its Facebook page. "Hard to imagine not seeing you all later this summer, but we understand and support the decision made by the Fair Board. Stay well and trust that we’ll be back, bigger and better than ever, in 2021."
For most, the decision to cancel the fair was expected and inevitable, and some like the Minnesota 4-H program have been planning alternatives.
The University of Minnesota Extension, which runs the program, said Friday: "At Extension, we’re working hard to create alternate experiences for 4-H'ers and others.
"We know this is particularly hard for 4-H youth and their families, and we will continue to extend support to them. In the coming weeks, we will be sharing our plans for ways we can create new experiences. It won’t replace the Fair but we are committed to meaningful programming."