COVID-19 cancels Minnesota State Fair

Pandemic poses risk to public health, safety


Maggie Klaers

In an announcement May 22, state fair general manager Jerry Hammer announced the Minnesota State Fair will not be opening summer 2020. The last time the state fair was closed was in 1946 for the polio epidemic.

Talia Lissauer and Marta Hill

For the first time since 1946 the Minnesota State Fair will not open their gates for the summer of 2020, according to state fair general manager Jerry Hammer. 

“This isn’t a difficult decision. It’s the only decision. It’s the right thing to do. As we go through this strange summer, we’re extremely grateful for the understanding and support of everyone who makes the State Fair possible — especially the millions of fair fans from around the globe,” Hammer said.

Hammer said he sympathizes with the artists, competitors, agriculturists, vendors, state fair workers and visitors who have been affected by the closure.

“This will have a big impact on thousands of businesses and the tens of thousands of people whose talent, dedication and love bring the fair to life. We understand exactly what they’re going through because we’re going through the same thing,” Hammer said. 

The Minnesota State Fair has closed only six times in its history, and according to Hammer the decision was made to protect people’s health. 

“No one knows what things will be like at fair time, but we need to make decisions now based on what we know today, not how we hope things will be in August,” Hammer said. “And right now, all of the science says that if things go well, we’ll still be walking very carefully in three months. That’s far from ready to run a mass gathering marathon like the State Fair.” 

While the cancelation is a disappointment for many, Hammer said the state fair team will use this time to prepare for the fair in the summer of 2021. 

“The best thing we can all do right now is to help the world recover and heal,” Hammer said. “In the meantime, your team of State Fair pros is working hard to come back bigger, better, stronger and smarter in ‘21. We’ll see you next year at the Great Minnesota Get-Back-Together.”