JEFFERSON CITY —Officials pulled the plug Friday on the Missouri State Fair, saying a surge in the coronavirus made it unsafe to bring that many people together.
The fairgrounds in Sedalia instead will be the site of a smaller, youth livestock show on Aug. 13-23.
“We care deeply about the public health and safety of our fairgoers and our community. When the original decision to move forward with the Fair was made, the information and numbers were different than they are now,” a statement on the fair’s website noted.
Missouri has set records in recent days for positive coronavirus cases. On Friday, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior services reported 768 new cases.
Officials said they worked with Gov. Mike Parson and the state health department to determine the “best course of action was to work to reduce the number of individuals on the fairgrounds.”
The fair also was swiftly losing vendors who were choosing to pull out of the event because of the effects of the pandemic.
“As those supporters have evaluated the effect the pandemic has had on their ability to participate, many have had to limit or cancel their participation,” the statement noted.
A-B InBev was the latest of about 20 sponsors to pull out. With the beermaker’s departure also went all of the entertainment on the Bud Stage, including bands and the “Homegrown Singer” contest.
The fair had already been paring back its featured events. All concerts had been canceled earlier. The milking demos were canceled.
Of the eight states Missouri shares a border with, five (Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma and Tennessee) called their fairs off. The other three — Arkansas, Kentucky and Nebraska — are still scheduled to go forward.
The decision came a day after Parson announced he would earmark $15 million in federal CARES Act funds to local tourism marketing groups to try and draw tourists to Missouri.