Minnesota State Fair General Manager reflects on decision to cancel event

Minnesota State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer spoke with FOX 9 Saturday, detailing why organizers decided to cancel the 2020 state fair due to COVID-19.

The Minnesota State Agricultural Society board of managers voted unanimously Friday to cancel the 2020 Great Minnesota Get-Together, citing multiple reasons, including a lack of vendors, workers and supplies.

"We can't risk everything on a bad bet; we need to do the right thing for the fair for the long haul," Hammer said.

With entertainers and exhibitors starting to back out, Hammer said if the fair were to have gone on as scheduled, it would not have been the same. Officials also said they don't have enough time to prepare.

"Right now is the time of year when things need to really take off if we’re going to have a fair, but we can see that we’re out of runway and can’t get off the ground," fair offiicials wrote in an announcement.

Officials also wrote that more and more livestock exhibitors, entertainers and attraction operators grew concerned with going on the road this summer. Some commercial exhibitors are also past their deadlines for getting products, and there’s even a question of adequate supplies for food vendors. And many were having trouble finding people who are willing to work in crowds.  

"Can you see social distancing on a Park & Ride bus, or at the Bandshell? One at a time on the Giant Slide? Can you imagine standing six feet apart in line for cookies? Me neither," they wrote.

Related: 'Hard to swallow': Minnesota State Fair vendors react to cancellation