State Fair of Texas officials proceeding with plans for fall event

State Fair of Texas officials on Tuesday said they are planning to resume the annual event this fall after it was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The fair’s senior vice president of public relations, Karissa Condoianis, said in a statement shared with multiple local outlets that preparations for the fair are underway, despite continued infections across the state and the country. 

"Planning has continued for the 2021 Fair during this pandemic with an optimistic and measured approach because producing an event of this size and scope, that means so much to so many, requires year-round efforts," Condoianis said, according to ABC’s Dallas affiliate station FAA. 

Last year was the first time the state fair had been canceled since World War II. 

The fair, held in the historic Fair Park in Dallas, dates back to 1886, and each year brings together small businesses, nearly 80 concessions and more than 200 exhibitors, NBC affiliate station KXAS-TV reported. 

According to its website, the State Fair of Texas is the longest-running fair in the country at 24 consecutive days and brings in more than 2.5 million visitors each year. 

Due to the pandemic, the fair’s organizers last year offered a drive-thru parade that intended to “keep the state fair spirit alive” during a tough time, Condoianis told The Dallas Morning News in 2020.

According to the Morning News, the fair’s board and management team “will continue to monitor” the spread of COVID-19 in the state, with a final decision on the fair expected by July. 

The fair is scheduled to take place this year from Sept. 24 to Oct. 17. 

Condoianis said that if the fair does move forward in-person, it will implement “all preventive measures recommended by the CDC and other relevant health and government agencies.” 

The fair each year allows about 5,200 Texas students to compete in livestock and leadership events, through which the fair has awarded more than $24 million in auction awards and scholarships, according to the fair’s website. 

The plans for the state fair come as the Texas Department of State Health Services has recorded a total of approximately 2.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and nearly 43,000 fatalities as a result of the virus. 

Other fairs and events held annually throughout the state have already been canceled or modified this year due to the pandemic. 

The Morning News reported that the 2021 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, which was initially moved to later in the spring, has been canceled altogether, and the Dallas St. Patrick’s Parade and Festival has been canceled for the second year in a row. 

The annual SXSW film and music festival in Austin will be held completely online this year.

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