ILLINOIS — The 2020 Illinois and Du Quoin State Fairs have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. J.B. Pritzker said Friday. The annual events, which drew more than half a million visitors in 2019, had been scheduled for Aug. 13 to Aug. 23 and Aug. 28 to Sept. 7, respectively.
"The Illinois and Du Quoin State Fairs have been some of my favorite opportunities to celebrate our agricultural communities and the residents who make Illinois so exceptional," Pritzker said in a Facebook post. "But it's because the fairs are such a treasure to so many thousands of people that my administration, like those of our neighboring Midwestern states, must make the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 State Fairs in light of the risk posed by COVID-19."
"We have to prioritize keeping our people safe," Pritzker added, saying that canceling the fairs was the right choice based on the latest public health guidance.
The fair cancellations follow those of Lollapalooza, Taste of Chicago, the Chicago Jazz Festival and the Chicago Air and Water Show, which had also been scheduled for later this summer.
LL Cool J, Toby Keith, Chris Young and Kane Brown had been booked to headline the Illinois State Fair. Cool J canceled his appearance back in March, when the fair was still scheduled to go forward.
Organizers said ticket holders will be contacted regarding refunds.
Illinois State Fair manager Kevin Gordon issued a statement expressing disappointment in the cancellation. "Our staff has been working hard to top what we did last year, and we feel like we were on track to do so," he said. "With that being said, we also understand that this is an unprecedented event. We have fantastic vendors, fairgoers, partners and exhibitors that we will miss seeing this year on the Fairgrounds."
The fairs will be back next August, officials said. The 2021 Illinois State Fair is scheduled for Aug. 12 to Aug. 22, while the 2021 Du Quoin State Fair will run from Aug. 27 to Sept. 6.
"Our state fairs are unmatched across the nation, and I look forward to gathering again to showcase the best of Illinois when it is safe to do so," Pritzker said.