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The State Fair of West Virginia’s board of directors has canceled the 2020 event, originally planned for Aug. 13-22 in Fairlea.

LEWISBURG, W.Va. — The State Fair of West Virginia board of directors voted Tuesday to cancel the 2020 event after the most recent outbreak of COVID-19 cases in the area.

The last time the State Fair was canceled was in 1942-45 for World War II, according to the organizers.

“When we first discussed moving forward with the 2020 State Fair, we knew it was a fluid situation that could change quickly,” CEO Kelly Collins said in a news release. “Unfortunately, the number of COVID-19 cases surged only hours after our initial announcement. After speaking with local and state health officials as well as community members, it was a hard decision, but the right decision to cancel.”

The initial decision to open the State Fair this year was based on thorough guidelines presented by local and state health officials in combination with low COVID-19 numbers in the area, board chairman Ralph Warren said in the release.

“We understood the situation has now changed, and the board felt it was important to act quickly,” he said. “It’s difficult to make this decision knowing the financial impact the State Fair has to our state and community.”

The State Fair is working through rescheduling concerts for 2021. Announcements will be made in the coming days. Once those announcements are made, ticket holders will be given the option of a refund or to roll tickets over to the 2021 event.

Vendors and those with camping reservations will be contacted by a member of the State Fair staff within the next few weeks.

The State Fair of West Virginia is working with partners to create a Junior Market animal show and will have more information soon.

The 96th State Fair is scheduled Aug. 12-21, 2021. For more information, visit www.statefairofwv.com.