COLUMBUS — The 2021 Ohio State Fair will not be open to the general public this summer due to public health concerns, officials said Thursday.
Instead, the Ohio Expositions Commission, which runs the annual event, announced the fair will focus this year on agricultural and educational competitions for exhibitors and their families and friends.
“While we are hopeful that we will soon be on the other side of this pandemic, the reality is that cases of COVID-19 remain high, and we just don’t know how things will look in July,” the announcement read.
The commission outlined concerns for public health and the financial perils of hosting a fair under current COVID-19 safety protocols.
“Although vaccination rates are improving significantly each day, Ohio continues to fight the battle against COVID-19,” General Manager Virgil Strickler said in the release. “This decision will not only help to protect the health and safety of Ohioans, it will also protect the long-term financial viability of the fair.”
The fair, which opens to limited capacity July 19, usually provides rides, concerts, numerous food vendors and other entertainment. The commission said it plans to return to that regular programming in 2022.
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 Aug. 8. The deadline for exhibitors to enter livestock competitions will be June 20.