DOSWELL — The Virginia Farm Bureau board of directors has canceled the 2020 State Fair of Virginia.
A modified State Fair 4-H Livestock Show will be held instead.
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.”
In 2019, nearly 245,000 people attended the State Fair.
The complexity of the event requires thousands of hours of planning by staff, partners and vendors; planning typically begins many months before the fair’s opening day.
“In a normal year, preparing for this annual event is a huge undertaking. In the midst of a global pandemic, it just wasn’t feasible,” Jolliffe said.
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 VFBF 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.”
Pryor said every precaution will be taken to keep participants safe during the event. State Fair staff are working with Virginia Cooperative Extension employees to finalize plans for the livestock show, and those details will be announced at a later date.
The State Fair has been held each fall since 2009.