The Ohio Expositions Commission announced that the 2021 Ohio State Fair will not be open to the public.
While planning for the fair, members of the Commission expressed concern for public health. So instead of opening to the public, the fair will focus on agricultural and educational competitions for exhibitors, their families, and guest.
“Although vaccination rates are improving significantly each day, Ohio continues to fight the battle against COVID-19. Where we are today in this battle makes it challenging to plan a large-scale entertainment event, not knowing where we will be, or what Ohio will look like, in late July,” explained General Manager Virgil Strickler. “In addition, the important safety protocols that have been put in place to protect Ohioans, like indoor seating capacities, may lead to attendance that is considerably lower than previous years. The financial ramifications of hosting a typical Ohio State Fair with the same overhead costs, but far less revenue, could be devastating to our organization. In a typical year, the Ohio State Fair’s budget is designed to break even, with a nominal profit, if any. Hosting a full fair this year would likely lead to significant financial loss.”
The rides, concerts, food vendors, and shopping will return to the fair in 2022. For now, the 2021 Ohio State Fair will function with just the exhibitors, competitors, judges, and family members.
“I wish we had a crystal ball, but we don’t,” Strickler continued. “As such, the safest decision is to greatly limit the traditional aspects of the Ohio State Fair, sticking to our roots in agriculture. While this is a difficult decision, we feel it is the best path to protect the long-term viability of the Ohio State Fair, as well as the safety of those involved by limiting the scope significantly.”
Detailed plans for the livestock and educational competitions are forthcoming. At this time, staff anticipates that the livestock shows will begin on July 19 and will conclude on August 8.
The deadline for exhibitors to enter livestock competitions will be June 20, 2021. The 2022 Ohio State Fair is slated for July 27 – August 7.