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State Fair of Virginia canceled due to COVID-19 complications
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State Fair of Virginia canceled due to COVID-19 complications

The Virginia Farm Bureau board of directors announced July 23 the decision to cancel the 2020 State Fair of Virginia, and instead plan to hold a modified State Fair 4-H Livestock Show. The traditional fair that was scheduled for Sept. 25 through Oct. 4 will not take place due to complications associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This was a difficult decision, but safety is our number one priority,” said Marlene Jolliffe, the fair’s executive director. “We’ve spent months developing plans and scenarios that would allow us to still host the fair this year, but with the ever-changing, unpredictable COVID-19 situation, we just couldn’t make it work.”

The State Fair of Virginia is an annual event that nurtures, preserves and celebrates the best of Virginia’s past, present and future through scholarship initiatives, creative programming and a focus on the commonwealth’s agriculture and natural resources industries. In 2019, nearly 245,000 people attended the State Fair.

Agriculture and youth are the foundation of the fair’s mission, “so our first priority was to find a way to honor our youth and allow them to be recognized for their dedication and hard work,” noted Farm Bureau President Wayne F. Pryor. “While a modified State Fair 4-H Livestock Show is not ideal, we believe it will allow our youth to showcase the yearlong effort they’ve put into raising their animals, and enable them to earn scholarship money as well.”

Fair staff are working with Virginia Cooperative Extension employees to finalize plans for the livestock show.

“While our hearts are heavy, we believe this is the right thing to do,” Jolliffe said. “We are thankful for the thousands who make this magical event come to life each September. To our dedicated fairgoers, staff, sponsors, exhibitors, 4-H & FFA members, vendors, volunteers and entertainers—we look forward to seeing you at next year’s fair, Sept. 24 through Oct. 3. We will be back bigger, better and stronger.”

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