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State fair canceled

The State Fair of Virginia is canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Virginia Farm Bureau announced July 23.

The fair was scheduled for Sept. 25 through Oct. 4 at the 330-acre Meadow Event Park in Caroline County near Richmond. Last year, nearly 245,000 people attended. To produce the fair, thousands of hours of advance planning are required by staff, vendors and partner organizations.

“In a normal year, preparing for this annual event is a huge undertaking. In the midst of a global pandemic, it just wasn’t feasible,” said Marlene Jolliffe, the fair’s executive director.

“This was a difficult decision, but safety is our number one priority,” Jolliffe continued. “We’ve spent months developing plans and scenarios that would allow us to still host the fair this year, but with the ever-changing, unpredictable COVID-19 situation, we just couldn’t make it work.”

Instead of the full scale event, a modified state fair 4-H livestock show will be held to allow young people from across Virginia “to showcase the yearlong effort they’ve put into raising their animals, and enable them to earn scholarship money as well,” Virginia Farm Bureau President Wayne F. Pryor said in an announcement.

Pryor said every precaution will be taken to keep participants safe. Fair staff are working with Virginia Cooperative Extension employees to finalize the livestock show plans, and details will be announced at a later date.

For the latest information on the State Fair 4-H Livestock Show, visit statefairva.org.