State Fair News

The 2020 State Fair of Texas is canceled due to COVID-19 concerns

The 2020 State Fair of Texas is canceled due to COVID-19 concerns

Big Tex at the State Fair of Texas
Big Tex, we'll miss you! As much as we can miss a construction made of wire and enclosed in fabric with a papier-mache head. Photo by Jason Hays

No Big Tex photo ops this year: According to a release, the 2020 version of the State Fair of Texas has been canceled.

A release says that "looking out for others" during these coronavirus times is important.

So, no auctioning off cattle. No jam contests. No fried Twinkies. No Big Tex fried food awards at all.

In making this decision, the fair gathered input from fairgoers, concessionaires, commercial exhibitors, Midway operators, auto manufacturers, business partners, staff, medical experts, and government officials before coming to this conclusion.

"The fair realizes the impact not holding a fair will have on our loyal fans, valued partners, and the North Texas economy, but we must do what is right for the health and wellness of our community," they say.

With health and safety as the top priority, the management team and the board of directors discussed all potential scenarios since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and brainstormed ways to make this year's event occur, creating various contingency plans and approaches. "All these plans fail if our annual celebration of Texas contributes to any further spread of the virus through our community," they say.

As for the companion sporting events, the release says that NCAA, respective conferences, and participating universities — including University of Texas at Austin and University of Oklahoma  — will make their own decisions regarding the football games that usually occur at Cotton Bowl Stadium during the fair.

If football is played this fall, the schools will play at the Cotton Bowl as scheduled, despite the cancellation of the 2020 State Fair.

The Big Tex Youth Livestock Auction and livestock shows, Big Tex Scholarship Program, and Big Tex Urban Farms will continue to have funding. "We commit to maintaining as many participation opportunities as possible as it relates to livestock and creative arts," the release says.

The other big loss would be the opportunity to get a corny dog, but a representative from Fletcher's Original Corny Dogs offers comforting words:

"For 78 years, the Fletcher's family has served their original corny dogs to attendees of the State Fair of Texas. While they are heartbroken that the State Fair of Texas will not take place this year, they take the health of their employees and customers seriously and understand the decision that was made to protect the public at large from COVID-19."

The company has recently been hosting pop-ups to feed first responders and has a calendar of events on its website, should you wish to chase 'em down.

This is not the first time the fair has canceled. The State Fair of Texas has previously canceled fairs because of World War I (1918), planning for the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition and 1937 Pan American Exposition at Fair Park (1935-1937), and World War II (1942-1945).