The 2020 Indiana State Fair will not take place in its traditional form due to concerns related to COVID-19. The Indiana State Fair Commission and State Fair Board say a modified 4-H Livestock Show and additional activities will be held at the State Fairgrounds in August.
The commission says key elements to the fair, including vendors and partners, began “falling off” due to the pandemic’s impact.
“Safety is our number one priority. We’ve spent months working through options that would allow us to host the Fair,’ Cindy Hoye, executive director of the Indiana State Fair Commission, said in a news release. “Agriculture and youth are the foundation of our mission and the heartbeat of the Indiana State Fair, so we are determined and proud to honor our 4-H members with a version of that State Fair experience that allows Indiana’s youth to be recognized for their dedication and hard work.”
Officials say the 4-H Livestock Show will showcase the 4-H project components of the State Fair with a focus on youth education, development, and the human and animal connection.
In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Hoye said the details of the livestock show are still being worked out.
“While we can’t have the full blown traditional Great Indiana State Fair, I’m super proud and excited about being able to lift up 4-H and especially livestock,” said Hoye. “We are very proud of that commitment to youth and especially to agriculture and we’re very proud that we’re able to produce that for this year. We’re still seeing what else we might be able to add but for now, as we’ve had to pivot and move forward, the board and the commission and the staff were all very excited about this option.”
Hoye says the modified livestock show will have an in-person element to it, with precautions put in place.
“The one thing that we have to work through is, with the new social distancing, laying out the barn space. We may need to limit the animals that a 4-H member may bring. That just gives us a way to spread them out in the barn. So as we look at these adjustments, we’ve got to look at safety number one.”
Hoye says the economic impact caused by the change is not fully known at this time. Last year’s State Fair saw nearly 879,000 attendees.
This will not be the first time the fair was canceled or modified. The commission says the Indiana State Fairgrounds was utilized during the Civil War and World War II to support the war effort.
Hoye says the details of the livestock show are still being worked out.