FLETCHER, N.C. (WSPA) – Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler announced Tuesday the 2020 Mountain State Fair has been canceled due to health concerns with the coronavirus pandemic.
“I would like nothing better than to NOT be making this announcement today,” Troxler said. “The Western N.C. Ag Center and the Mountain State Fair are important to the community. Both are cultural and economic forces and I am aware of the significant contributions they make. I am heartbroken for the small businesses, family farms, competitors and exhibitors impacted by this decision.”
The decision was made due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, the state only being in Phase II of reopening and the uncertainty of what the conditions will be in September, according to a release from the N.C. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Fair officials decided that to socially distance the fair and follow CDC recommendations would result in a very scaled back experience.
“The fair is a magical place that is meant to offer an opportunity to temporarily escape the day-to-day,” Troxler said. “The lights, the smells, the food, the rides, the music and the fairgoes comes together to make it a memorial experience. To offer anything less than a full experience and our very best efforts shortchanges everyone.”
The fair was supposed to take place from September 11-20, but Troxler said they would have to pay over $500,000 in contracts and expenses by the end of July. He said that was why the decision was made now.
Troxler said agriculture officials remain committed to having a junior livestock show, and they will announce details once they are worked out.
“I have also asked staff to come up with ideas for events that we may be able to host at the Ag Center in place of a fair. I hope we can couple any events with a canned food drive because the issue of hunger never takes a break, and in face the need is greater because of this pandemic,” he said.
The fair committee is already working on plans for the 2021 fair.