ESCANABA, Mich. (WJMN) — Planning will not continue for the 2020 U.P. State Fair scheduled for August 17-23 in Escanaba. The decision to postpone the current fair program until 2021 was made by the U.P. State Fair Authority today.
At the heart of the decision was the State of Michigan’s current crowd size restrictions that would vastly limit the authority’s ability to provide the same familiar experience that fairgoers are used to. Skerbeck Entertainment Group, the fair’s carnival and midway operator, was also notified by the licensing agency, LARA – MI Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, that amusement devices, other than zip lines, are not permitted to operate at this time.
At the onset of the COVID-19 crisis, the Fair Authority and the Delta County Chamber of Commerce worked alongside local and state authorities to create exceptional health and safety plans to protect fairgoers. In collaboration with these groups, organizers met with focus groups and conducted risk assessments to make an informed, safe decision on whether to hold the event. All groups agreed that if the State’s crowd size restrictions were increased, the fair could move forward by following the COVID-19 preparedness response plan that outlined details for social distancing, advanced online ticket sales, added hand washing stations, increased restroom sanitation, health screenings at the gates, established building capacity limits, and other CDC requirements.
“While the State Fair Authority and the Delta County Chamber of Commerce are brokenhearted at the decision, we remain committed to the health and safety of the public. Canceling the Fair complies with the law imposed by the Governor’s Executive Orders and is the right decision to make to support the fair’s future viability and success,” said Phyllis French, Chair, U.P. State Fair Authority.
“The Authority and management team understand that the U.P. State Fair has been an exceptional event where attendees have high expectations for a fun and unforgettable experience. We hope and believe that the 2021 U.P. State Fair can return to truly be the ‘Best Fair Yet,’ and look forward to keeping alive one of Michigan’s favorite annual events during a safer, healthier time,” said Vickie Micheau, executive director of the fair’s management agency, the Delta County Chamber of Commerce.
Senator Ed McBroom, Vice-Chair of the U.P. State Fair Authority and Department Advisory Committee Chair stated, “Despite the postponement of this year’s State Fair, the Authority has asked the livestock departments to put together a plan to hold a livestock exhibition for our exhibitors. The DAC will work aggressively to keep faith with our exhibitors, particularly our youth, that have already put so much time and investment into their projects for this year by creating a show that follows the advice of the CDC and medical professionals.”