This year there will be no friendly waves and thundering “Howdy, Folks” from the beloved Texas giant, no rides on the towering Ferris Wheel, no sweaty little painted faces or the waft of livestock from the petting zoo, and maybe most tragically, no Fletcher’s corny dogs. The State Fair of Texas is officially cancelled for the first time since World War II. In its 134-year existence, the fair has been canceled only eight times, and even then, primarily because of two world wars.
This news isn’t exactly surprising considering the current state of things. In the announcement made on its website, the decision was made because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“With a heavy heart, we are announcing that the State Fair of Texas will not open for the 2020 season. We believe the spirit of the Lone Star state lies in every Texan’s ability to care and look out for their neighbor and it is with this in mind, we have decided to keep our guests, staff, and partners safe and healthy during these uncertain times. Click the button below to find out more information about this news, including refund information for those who have already purchased a ticket. We look forward to giving y’all a great big Howdy in 2021.”
The cancellation of the State Fair of Texas is a huge financial impact on the vendors that set up at the fair each and every year. In 2019, the fair drew 2,514,637 people during its nearly monthlong run, and it’s not uncommon for the fair to draw more than 200,000 people on peak days. For Dallas, the loss of the fair is devastating. Based on a 2017 study conducted by the University of North Texas, the fair gives an annual economic impact of $410 million to $499 million, making it one of the premier events in the nation.
Hopefully the State Fair of Texas can return stronger than ever in 2021. It is tentatively scheduled to run from Friday, Sept. 24 through Sunday, Oct. 17. Until then, Big Tex will have to “shelter in place,” and we’ll have to reminisce about the time when crowds could gather safely.
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