Fair officials had held out hope that the event, attended annually by about 350,000 people, could proceed as scheduled Aug. 27 to Sept. 7. But they made the call this week that it could not meet safety guidelines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Fair manager Jeremy Husby said organizers considered holding the fair while enforcing social distancing.
“It didn’t seem possible,” he said.
The event brings in roughly $30 million over 12 days, Husby said. That loss of income will deal a harsh blow to county tourism revenue and to the more than 200 vendors that rely on the fair for income.
“We realize this decision will have an economic impact on our Fair participants and local businesses who depend on the Fair for their livelihood,” Husby said in a news release. “Our overriding goal is to save lives and keep our community healthy.”
The fair has been cancelled only a handful of times in its nearly 120-year history. It was called off for three years in a row during the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918, and twice during World War II.
This year would have been the 112th fair.
“The Fair should be a time for community celebration and sharing, not anxiety,” Husby said in the statement. “We have a responsibility to provide a safe experience for our volunteers, sponsors, vendors, entertainers, employees, animals, and the entire community.”
The 2021 fair is scheduled for Aug. 26 to Sept. 6.
Julia-Grace Sanders: 425-339-3439; jgsanders@heraldnet.