CHICAGO (CBS) — The Illinois State Fair in Springfield and the Du Quoin State Fair in far southern Illinois have been canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. JB Pritzker’s office said he is issuing executive orders canceling both fairs this year, based on advice from public health experts to protect people from further spread of the virus.
“The Illinois and Du Quoin State Fairs have been some of my favorite opportunities to celebrate our agricultural communities and the residents who make Illinois so exceptional,” Pritzker said in a statement Friday afternoon. “But it’s because the fairs are such a treasure to so many thousands of people that my administration, like those of our neighboring Midwestern states, must make the difficult decision to cancel the 2020 State Fairs in light of the risk posed by COVID-19.”
It’s the first time since World War II that the Illinois State Fair in Springfield has been canceled. The DuQuoin State Fair hasn’t been canceled since the state took over that fair in 1986.
In lieu of the state fairs this year, the Illinois Department of Agriculture will host a Junior Livestock Expo in Springfield in Illinois, to ensure youth exhibitors (ages 8-21) can show their animals this year. The state fair’s 4-H General Project Show will take place online this year, with premiums and ribbons awarded by the state. Officials said details regarding registration and operation will be announced later.
The traditional state fairs will return in August 2021.
“We’ve said from the very beginning our main concern is the health and safety of those who attend our state fairs,” said Jerry Costello II, acting director of the Illinois Department of Agriculture. “These aren’t just Fairs; they are economic engines for the Springfield and Du Quoin communities that highlight the best that Illinois has to offer and shine a spotlight on kids around our state. These kids work all year to prepare for their livestock and projects, so we are determined to still provide them an event that showcases their hard work and perseverance through a very difficult year.”
Anyone who purchased an Illinois State Fair mega pass, admission booklet or parking pass should contact the State Fair office at 217-782-6661 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The 2021 Illinois State Fair will run from August 12th-August 22nd. The 2021 Du Quoin State Fair is scheduled for August 27th-September 6th.