COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio State Fair will not be open to the public this year, the Ohio Expositions Commission announced Thursday.
The fair will instead focus on agricultural and educational competitions for exhibitors, their families and guests. Concerts, rides and other traditions will resume in 2022.
Members of the commission cited concerns over public health and the financial impact of hosting a fair designed to adhere to current safety protocols.
“Although vaccination rates are improving significantly each day, Ohio continues to fight the battle against COVID-19. Where we are today in this battle makes it challenging to plan a large-scale entertainment event, not knowing where we will be, or what Ohio will look like, in late July,” said Virgil Strickler, general manager of the Ohio Expositions Commission. “The financial ramifications of hosting a typical Ohio State Fair with the same overhead costs, but far less revenue, could be devastating to our organization."
Strickler said the Ohio State Fair’s budget is normally designed to break even, and that hosting a full fair in 2021 could lead to significant financial loss.
Plans for the livestock and educational competitions will move forward for 2021, but will operate differently than usual. At this time, the fair anticipates the livestock shows will begin on July 19 and will conclude on Aug. 8. The deadline for exhibitors to enter livestock competitions will be June 20.