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Tulsa State Fair Canceled Aside from Junior Livestock Show, Some Vendors

Matt Trotter

The 2020 Tulsa State Fair has been canceled.

The Tulsa County Public Facilities Authority pulled the plug Tuesday afternoon on midway rides and attractions, concerts, the rodeo, and Disney On Ice.

"I just can’t imagine that we can get people together on that midway and do it safely. I mean, you could see from other fairs, like the Springfield fair, nobody’s wearing their masks and they’re clustered together, because we’re social beings and it’s just a fun thing to do," said County Commissioner Karen Keith, who chairs the facilities authority.

The decision came about six weeks after Oklahoma City officials canceled the Oklahoma State Fair. The Tulsa State Fair was to be held Oct. 1–11. A junior livestock show scheduled for the same time as the fair will still go on, however, with Expo Square Agribusiness Manager Brandi Herndon saying they can space out participants — maybe even more than usual without the fair.

"We’re able to use more facilities on grounds because with the cancellation of Disney and the rodeo, et cetera, it allows us more space," Herndon said.

An "appropriate level of vendors" will also be allowed to set up booths inside.

The fair has consistently drawn more than 1 million people a year as of late, and it accounts for about 40% of the fairgrounds’ $25 million in annual revenue.

The fair started as the Tulsa County Free Fair in 1903, moving to the fairgrounds in 1926 and being deemed a state fair in 1935. Organizers do not believe it has been canceled in that time.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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