PERRY, Ga. — Effective immediately plans for the 2020 Georgia National Fair have been cancelled. Wednesday August 12, 2020 the Georgia Agricultural Exposition Authority made the executive decision to cancel the 2020 Georgia National Fair with a proposed modified schedule for the Youth Livestock Exhibitions. This difficult decision was driven by the impact of COVID-19 and the desire to do what was best for staff, volunteers, fairgoers and all vested parties.
The Georgia National Fair has a long standing tradition of excellence and of that; safety has always been top priority. Discussions around how to proceed with the 31 st Annual event have been taking place for months, each time safety being a major concern for all involved. “For 30 years we have been able to offer an event for everyone in the family to enjoy, the rides, the entertainment, food and much more. This year, due to growing concerns for the safety of our visitors, employees, volunteers, and vendors we knew it was going to be tough to move forward as “normal”. We employ roughly 300 part time employees during the Fair month, and due to health concerns many have informed us that they would not be able to join us again this year, making it difficult to host an event of our magnitude in the manner we typically have. This decision has weighed heavily on our minds and hearts as this is the first time in 30 years that the Georgia National Fair will not happen, and much like our Fairgoers, this is a staple of our Fall season. Although the 2020 Georgia National Fair is unable to happen, we are making plans for the 2021 event and hope that you will make plans to join us then.” Stephen Shimp, CEO.
After much consideration, Fair Board members determined hosting a Fair that abides by CDC and State regulations would not be possible. Agricultural Exposition Authority Chairman, Foster Rhodes stated, “We have looked at every factor that plays a part in what makes the Georgia National Fair great. From the rides, vendors, concessionaires, live entertainment and concerts, it is nearly impossible to make our event safe for all members involved due to the recent COVID outbreak.
For 30 years we have offered a family friendly, safe environment and that is what we strive to do each year. To offer anything less would be a disservice to our patrons, fairgoers, partners, as well as the staff and those who have come to love the Georgia National Fair’s brand. We have held off on making this decision as long as possible, however we have now entered into the 60 day window of the 2020 Georgia National Fair. With this timeline, all vendors would need an estimated 60 day notice to make appropriate plans if attending this year’s event. We feel that there is no “half-way” to producing a Fair like what we are used to hosting, and because of that we have reached this unforeseen decision to cancel.”
The Youth FFA and 4H Livestock Exhibitions are the foundation of the Georgia National Fairground’s mission. It is with pride that we are able to continue to offer them the “Fair Showing Experience” so that they can showcase their hard work and dedication in the agriculture industry. Guidelines have been put in place to help ensure that all exhibitors and their families are abiding by State and CDC regulations as well as aiding to keep our facility a safe place during this time. The show schedule, as well as those specific guidelines will be made available within the next few weeks.
Registration for these livestock projects will remain open until September 1, 2020 online only, at www.georgianationalfair.com. This event will be a private event, open only to those exhibitors and their immediate family, no general admission or spectators will be allowed on grounds throughout the livestock shows. “The youth livestock and equine shows embody what our facility was designed for. We have been able to open the facility back to these events, with regulations put in place to follow all rules and guidelines set before us. This is why we feel that we are able to host this event while continuing to stay true to our mission of providing the youth a place to exhibit their livestock. It is our desire to work towards giving them the opportunity to show their projects that they have invested so much into.” Stephen Shimp, CEO.
The 31 st Annual Georgia National Fair, scheduled for October 8-18, 2020 will not be taking place, however this is just a bump in the road. The Georgia National Fair staff will begin working towards plans for the 2021 Georgia National Fair immediately. To stay up to date, check out www.georgianationalfair.com for all of the latest information and for plans for the 32nd Georgia National Fair, October 7-17, 2021.
–Keaton Walker, Georgia National Fair