Minnesota State Fair Board meeting Friday to discuss fate of 2020 Fair

A record-breaking crowd at the Minnesota State Fair. Photo by Cody Matz / Fox 9.

The Minnesota State Fair Board is meeting Friday to discuss the 2020 Great-Minnesota Get-Together, fair officials confirmed to FOX 9. 

Reports say the board will make a decision on whether or not the 2020 fair will go on as scheduled amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

In late April, Gov. Tim Walz said it was "very difficult" to see the State Fair operating this year. 

"I wouldn’t make a definitive call, but I also don’t want to give any false hope on this, Walz said. "I think it’d be very difficult to see a State Fair operating. I don’t know how you social distance in there.”

Fair officials have said this year’s Great Minnesota Get-Together will be all or nothing—alternate fair dates, a change in the duration of the fair or significant reductions in the scale of the fair were not being considered. 

Last month, Minnesota State Fair general manager Jerry Hammer said there is no specific date by which they have to decide whether to hold the State Fair in 2020 or not.

“We continue to remain hopeful that we can celebrate this year in our usual style, but ultimately please know and rest assured the State Fair will do the right thing for Minnesota, our nation and our world,” Hammer said.

As it stands right now, the 2020 Minnesota State Fair is set to run from Thursday, Aug. 27 through Labor Day.

Last year’s Great Minnesota Get-Together drew 2,126,551 people to the fairgrounds in Falcon Heights over the course of 12 days—a new overall attendance record. 

Impact on vendors if State Fair is canceled

"Economically, for myself and my son and all the kids who work for me, that would put a strain on everything," said Carla Wood of Gizmo. "Because if the Minnesota State Fair gets cancelled, more than likely the Iowa State Fair would get cancelled because we’re before you, which is pretty much most of my income."

Drew Levin from Turkey To Go says he understands if the fair has to be called off for health precautions. But, he has hope that some way he can find a way to get his product to fairgoers despite the pandemic.

"If it doesn’t happen, I still believe there’s a way to make it happen in a different format," said Levin. "In which we will 100 percent participate in, which means making our sandwiches and maybe doing it by home delivery or some other way. Maybe teaming up with some other booths would be a really great way to celebrate the fair."