FAIRGOERS ENTER the Ohio State Fair in this file photo. The 2020 fair was canceled Thursday because of concerns over the spread of COVID-19. (File photo)

COLUMBUS — The Ohio Expositions Commission announced Thursday that it will cancel the 2020 Ohio State Fair, originally scheduled for July 29 to Aug. 9, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Members of the commission expressed concern for public health, as well as the financial feasibility of hosting a fair that would adhere to social distancing protocols.

“After careful thought and deliberation, we have decided to cancel the Ohio State Fair. Knowing how easily the virus spreads in large groups, we believe it is the safest path forward for the health and safety of all Ohioans,” said Andy Doehrel, chairman of the Ohio Expositions Commission. “The financial ramifications of hosting a reduced-capacity fair would be too great, and we need to protect the great Ohio State Fair for future generations.”

“Our first priority is the safety of the hundreds of thousands of people involved in the Ohio State Fair each year,” said Virgil Strickler, general manager of the Ohio Expo Center and State Fair. “I look forward to seeing my fellow Ohioans at the 2021 Ohio State Fair, when it is safer for us to enjoy our favorite traditions together.”

Last year, 934,925 people attended the Ohio State Fair during its 12-day run. These attendees came from each of Ohio’s 88 counties, all 50 states, the District of Columbia, as well as Canada and Mexico.