Ag News

2020 Georgia National Fair canceled

by Jennifer Whittaker, Georgia Farm Bureau

Posted on Aug 19, 2020 at 0:00 AM

For the first time since the Georgia National Fair began in 1990, the event has been canceled.

The Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority (GAEA) made the decision to cancel the 2020 fair on Aug. 12 after determining that it would not be possible to host a fair that abides by Georgia and Centers for Disease Control safety regulations for COVID-19.

“We have looked at every factor that plays a part in what makes the Georgia National Fair great. From the rides, vendors, concessionaires, live entertainment and concerts, it is nearly impossible to make our event safe for all members involved due to the recent COVID outbreak,” GAEA Chairman Foster Rhodes said in a released statement. “We feel there is no “half-way” to producing a fair like what we are used to hosting, and because of that we have reached this unforeseen decision to cancel.”

Foster said the authority held off making a decision as long as possible but could wait no longer because vendors need a 60-day window to plan for the event that would have been held Oct. 8-18.

Many of the estimated 300 part-time employees that the fair hires every October informed fair staff that they would not be able to work the event due to health concerns, GNF  Executive  Director  Stephen Shimp said.

The ’20 North Georgia State Fair has also been canceled for the first time since WWII. According to the International Association of Fairs & Expositions, as of Aug. 14 only five major states had not cancelled their state fairs: Delaware, Wyoming, South Dakota, Arizona and Louisiana. The Delaware State Fair completed a 10-day run on Aug.  1. The Wyoming State Fair ran from Aug. 11-15.

The Georgia National Fairgrounds & Agricenter plans to proceed with a modified schedule for the Georgia 4-H and FFA livestock shows usually held at the fair. The GNF has put guidelines in place to help ensure that all exhibitors and their families abide by Georgia and CDC regulations.

The show schedule, as well as those specific guidelines are being distributed to county Extension agents and ag teachers. Registration for these livestock projects will remain open until Sept. 1, online only, at .

The livestock shows will be a private event open only to exhibitors, their families, project support staff, agents, ag teachers and show staff. No general admission or spectators will be allowed on grounds throughout the livestock shows. Mask or face coverings will be required while in New South, the Beef and Dairy arenas. Exhibitors do not have to wear face coverings while competing in the show ring.

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