Apr. 8—The Ohio State Fair will not be open to the public and will instead be scaled down to livestock and educational competitions for exhibitors and their family and guests this year.
Concerts, rides and other fair traditions are expected to resume in 2022.
"Although vaccination rates are improving significantly each day, Ohio continues to fight the battle against COVID-19," said Virgil Strickler, fair general manager. "Where we are today in this battle makes it challenging to plan a large-scale entertainment event, not knowing where we will be, or what Ohio will look like, in late July."
Safety protocols and health orders in place could also lead to lower attendance, putting a financial strain on the fair.
"The financial ramifications of hosting a typical Ohio State Fair with the same overhead costs, but far less revenue, could be devastating to our organization," Strickler said. "In a typical year, the Ohio State Fair's budget is designed to break even, with a nominal profit, if any. Hosting a full fair this year would likely lead to significant financial loss."
The 2021 Ohio State Fair will focus on livestock competitions and conclude with the Sale of Champions to celebrate the hard work of exhibitors. The fair is expected to start July 19 and end Aug. 8. More details on the livestock and educational competitors will be released at a later day. The deadline to enter livestock competitions is June 20.
"I wish we had a crystal ball, but we don't," Strickler said. "As such, the safest decision is to greatly limit the traditional aspects of the Ohio State Fair, sticking to our roots in agriculture. While this is a difficult decision, we feel it is the best path to protect the long-term viability of the Ohio State Fair, as well as the safety of those involved by limiting the scope significantly."
The 2022 Ohio State Fair is scheduled for July 27 to Aug. 7.