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Harvest Fair 2020 canceled over coronavirus

WEST ALLIS, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Wisconsin State Fair Park officials announced Thursday, July 16, that Harvest Fair 2020 is canceled. The annual three-day event that featured scarecrow making, pumpkin bowling and fall-themed food, drinks, shopping and more, was scheduled to take place Friday, September 25 – Sunday, September 27

According to a news release, in late May, the State Fair Park board voted to authorize Board Chairman John Yingling to make the determination on whether events currently scheduled at State Fair Park, including the 2020 Wisconsin State Fair and Harvest Fair, are to be canceled.

The release says, the State Fair Park staff analyzed all facets of the event, in hopes of being able to provide the Harvest Fair experience that people have come to know and love. After receiving input from each board member and Kathleen O’Leary, Executive Director/CEO of State Fair Park, Chairman Yingling made the decision that for the safety of Harvest Fair patrons, staff, vendors, entertainers, sponsors, suppliers and the broader community, Harvest Fair will not be held.

“These unprecedented times continue, and countless fairs, festivals and sporting events have been forced to make the extremely difficult decision to cancel or proceed without fans and attendees,” said John Yingling, Wisconsin State Fair Park Board Chairman. “Harvest Fair has the potential to draw 75,000 people over the course of three days, and the risk of bringing thousands of people together is still too high. The safety of all visitors to State Fair Park is always our top priority.”

The board and staff have continued to closely monitor COVID-19 data from local, state and federal health officials during this time. While some restrictions have been lifted, new guidelines have been recently released due to surges in the number of positive cases. The Centers of Disease Control (CDC) and the Wisconsin Department of Health Services still advise against large in-person gatherings where it is difficult to remain spaced at least six feet apart.

“We know that Harvest Fair is a beloved fall tradition for so many people, which is why this decision was so difficult," said Kathleen O’Leary, CEO, Wisconsin State Fair Park. “For 26 years this event has celebrated everything that is wonderful about the fall season in Wisconsin. However, after considering all options to host an event that would adhere to the current safety guidelines without compromising the experience, we cannot safely put on an event of this size and magnitude. On a brighter note, we look forward to bringing our State Fair Necessities programs to our loyal Fairgoers in the coming weeks and are also hard at work planning the 2021 Wisconsin State Fair.”

Moving forward, the board and staff will continue to analyze the data and prioritize the safety of all Fair Park visitors when making decisions about other events scheduled to be held at State Fair Park. The 2021 Wisconsin State Fair, presented by U.S. Cellular, is scheduled to take place Aug. 5 – 15, and Harvest Fair 2021 is scheduled to take place Sept. 24 – 26.

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