Ohio State Fair Will Not Be Open to Public in 2021
The Ohio Expositions Commission announced on April 8 that the 2021 Ohio State Fair will not be open to the public, and will instead focus on agricultural and educational competitions for exhibitors, their families and guests.
The Commission expressed concern for public health, also citing the financial impact of hosting a fair that meets current safety protocols and the lasting impacts of the long-term viability of the Ohio State Fair, according to a release.
“Although vaccination rates are improving significantly each day, Ohio continues to fight the battle against COVID-19. 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,” General Manager Virgil Strickler said in a release.
He said the important safety protocols put in place to protect Ohioans, like indoor seating capacities, would likely lead to lower attendance than previous years.
“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. 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,” Strickler said.
Rides, concerts, entertainers, live music, food vendors and shopping are expected to return in 2022. The 2021 Ohio State Fair will be limited to exhibitors and family members for youth and senior livestock competitions, along with educational project judging for non-livestock competitions such as 4-H.
“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 slated for July 27 – August 7. Details regarding the livestock and educational competitions will be coming soon, the Ohio State Fair noted. At this time, staff said they anticipate the livestock shows will begin on July 19 and will conclude on August 8. The deadline to enter livestock competitions will be June 20.