“The Iowa State Fair Board today made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 Iowa State Fair due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,” according to a message posted on the fair’s website. According to the website, there have been a total of five fairs canceled in its history:
- 1898 because of the World’s Fair in Omaha
- the Spanish-American War
- World War II from 1942-1945 (3 fairs canceled)
Start making your plans now for the 2021 Iowa State Fair. It is schedule for August 12-22, 2021.
Here is the Iowa State Board’s June 10 statement regarding its “difficult decision to postpone the 2020 Iowa State Fair” posted on its website:
Dear Fair Friends,
The Iowa State Fair Board today made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 Iowa State Fair due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The decision was complex and considered a wide array of factors. The Iowa State Fair’s top priority is protecting the health and safety of Fairgoers, staff, volunteers, exhibitors and entertainers. Amid the pandemic, we couldn’t, in good conscience, put on the Fair when we knew access to emergency safety services at the Fair could be limited, public transportation to and from the Fair would not be possible, the constant sanitization of a seemingly infinite amount of high touch surfaces lacked feasibility and social distancing in lines to get your favorite Fair food or walking the Grand Concourse would be difficult.
While we can’t predict what the COVID-19 pandemic will look like in August, we can make educated decisions based on information and guidance available today from health. Waiting any longer to make a decision would have been more potentially damaging to our great Fair partners and our planning.
Not getting together this August at the Iowa State Fair will be disappointing. Our staff, volunteers, entertainers, vendors and sponsors love to come together to put on 11 fantastic days each summer. We know that the Fair isn’t just an event; it’s a way of life for many, including our friends in agriculture and our young exhibitors.
Thank you for your patience in allowing the Iowa State Fair Board, staff and partners the time we needed to thoroughly review our options for the 2020 Iowa State Fair.
And thank you for your unwavering support. We can’t wait to get together again in 2021.
“Fairwell” for now and stay healthy.
Gary Slater- CEO and Fair Manager
Since March 16, 2020, officials at the Iowa State Fair have discussed the possibility of a postponed for 2020 due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Here are previous statements leading up the June 10, 2020 decision stating: Iowa State Fair postponed
In an effort to give us the best chance at the safest and healthiest possible Iowa State Fair in 2020, we continue to thoughtfully review our plans while carefully navigating the ever-changing COVID-19 landscape. We ask that you continue to be patient as we gather and analyze the many unique experiences that Iowans hold near and dear at the Iowa State Fair. We don’t take this decision lightly and we know that time is of the essence. You can expect the 2020 Iowa State Fair decision to be announced by June 15th.
Dear Fair Friends,
The Iowa State Fair is a celebration of everything Iowan; bringing the best in agriculture and entertainment together each August for the past 165 years. COVID-19 continues to offer us challenges, but it has also shown us unbelievable strength and kindness. We have been humbled by the number of emails, messages, and phone calls with words of encouragement. Please know we have appreciated every word.
Right now, like many of you, we continue to monitor the situation, doing our part to follow guidelines right alongside other Iowa organizations, businesses, and events. We communicate on a regular basis with our counterparts in other states through the International Association of Fairs and Expos and other Iowa tourism destinations as well as our elected officials and our public health department.
Fear of the unknown can be overwhelming at times. The safety and health of our staff, volunteers, and Fairgoers is our top priority. We never want someone to feel unsafe working or attending the Fair. It is because of this that we are carefully considering all our options. Although planning the best 11 days in August takes time, we believe at a minimum, our Fair partners and grounds crews require 60-70 days. With that timeline in mind, we will be making a decision about what the 2020 Iowa State Fair will look like in early to mid-June.
We have seen many changes in the past 6-8 weeks, I am sure we will continue to see things change in the coming months and days. With that being said, we are choosing to focus on what we CAN do now, what we CAN plan for now, and how we CAN bring you the best Iowa State Fair, August 13-23, 2020. Visit our website or follow us on social media for updates and thank you for your continued patience, support and encouragement.
Gary D. Slater
CEO and Fair Manager
The Iowa State Fair would like to recognize the Fair partners who are offering carry-out or call-in orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visit the Iowa State Fair’s website for a list of vendors.
UPDATE AS OF 4.3.2020
Dear Fair Friends,
These are certainly unprecedented and unpredictable times and I hope you are staying safe and healthy. I wanted you to know that even in times like these, we continue to move ahead with preparations for the 2020 Iowa State Fair. We are working hard to make it the best one yet and believe in these uncertain times, people will need the tradition and family friendly entertainment options available at the Fair. Although, we may implement some changes related to COVID-19 protocols, we are looking forward to the Fair, August 13-23, 2020. Like many other businesses, our staff are working remotely, but we are still available to answer any questions or provide support at any time. Please contact us by phone at 515-262-3111 or by general email at email@example.com. Thank you very much for your patience and understanding as we work to get through these challenging times together. We will continue to share information as it is available.
Gary Slater, Fair Manager and CEO
UPDATE AS OF 3.24.2020
As a reminder, our utmost priority continues to be the health and safety of the people of Iowa. Because of this, the Fairgrounds has postponed when possible all NON-fairtime events until mid-April. On behalf of our event promoters, participants, and attendees, we continue to assess the COVID-19 situation and will update the website with new information when available. If you have a question about an upcoming event, wedding or family celebration, please contact a member of the interim events staff at 515-262-3111 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A complete list of event changes can be found on the Iowa State Fairgrounds Event Calendar.
UPDATE AS OF 3.18.2020
In accordance with state directives regarding protocols for the COVID-19 Virus, the Iowa State Fairgrounds are closed to the public at this time. Employees and authorized people only are allowed to enter the grounds. We apologize for the inconvenience.
UPDATE AS OF 3.16.2020
In the interest of public health, Governor Kim Reynolds and Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie have restricted large social gatherings. Because our utmost priority is serving the people of Iowa, the Fairgrounds will respectfully comply and is canceling or postponing all NON-fairtime events until further notice. On behalf of our event promoters, participants, and attendees, we are saddened; however, we know the safety and well-being of our community is our top priority. A complete list of event changes can be found at www.iowastatefairgrounds.org.
Officials went on to say:
Scheduled events at our facilities
Most non-fairtime events on the Fairgrounds are organized and promoted by third parties. We are working with our event organizers to reschedule events when possible. Please contact the Iowa State Fairgrounds through the Contact Us page for refund ticket information and additional details.
These changes do not impact planning for the Iowa State Fair. We continue to work and prepare for the best 2020 Iowa State Fair, August 13-23.
The recommendations for everyday preventive actions include:
Staying home when sick
Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
Following proper coughing etiquette
Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
Avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
If you have a compromised immune system, please check with your health care provider to determine your own risks before attending events or traveling
For a complete list of prevention and treatment, visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additional resources are available through the Polk County Health Department, Iowa Department of Public Health, World Health Organization, U.S. Travel Association, and Destinations International.
Please know this is a fluid and unpredictable situation, so we are in constant communication with our local city and state health officials for guidance. For up to date information, sign up for our e-newsletter, text FAIR to 75782, or email email@example.com.
Iowa State Fair postponed. See you next year!