SPRINGFIELD — Due to COVID-19, this year’s Illinois State Fair has been canceled.
“This is the right choice based on guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health and other experts: we have to prioritize keeping our people safe,” Gov. J.B. Pritzker said in a statement.
The Du Quoin State Fair has also been canceled.
Last year, the two fairs attracted over 600,000 visitors.
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana, Ohio and North Dakota have all canceled their state fairs, while Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas and Michigan are still planning to hold theirs.
The Illinois Department of Agriculture is working on ways for youth exhibitors to showcase their projects.
A junior livestock expo will be held in September in Springfield, and a 4-H general project show will take place virtually.
“These kids work all year to prepare for their livestock and projects, so we are determined to still provide them an event that showcases their hard work and perseverance through a very difficult year,” said Jerry Costello, the acting director of the state agriculture department.
The state fair was last canceled during World War II, when the fairgrounds were used as a U.S. Army Airforce supply depot.
It was also canceled in 1862 due to the Civil War and replaced in 1893 by the World’s Columbia Expo in Chicago.