2 big Georgia fall fairs canceled because of COVID-19 fears

PERRY, Ga. (AP) — Two large fall fairs in Georgia have been canceled because of fears about COVID-19 transmission.

On Wednesday, organizers canceled the 2020 Georgia National Fair in Perry, a day after organizers canceled the North Georgia State Fair in Marietta.

Both events typically attract hundreds of thousands of people.

Georgia National Fair organizers said they still intend to host youth livestock shows, but that only the child showing the animal and their immediate families will be able to attend.

Fair CEO Stephen Shimp said that among other obstacles, many workers were declining to sign up this year, citing health concerns. Board member said they determined it would be impossible to host a fair that meets health guidelines.

“We feel that there is no ‘half-way’ to producing a fair like what we are used to hosting, and because of that we have reached this unforeseen decision to cancel,” Foster Rhodes, chairman of the state agency that puts on the fair, said in a statement.

The Cobb County Fair Association said the park that hosts the fair is instead being used for COVID-19 testing. They say they hope to create drive-through food weekends in late September and early October.

“We realized there were no options left available to us,” association President Frank Wigington said in a statement. Organizers said it was the first time since World War II that the event was canceled.

Both groups say they intend to hold fairs in 2021.