MANSFIELD -- There will be no Ohio State Fair this summer and the status of the 2020 Richland County Fair is still up in the air.
On the same day the Ohio Expositions Commission announced that the annual state fair will be on "hiatus" this summer due to COVID-19, Richland County Fair Board President Gary Blum said no decisions have been made about the local event.
"We have a (fair) board meeting Tuesday and we will be talking about it," Blum said Thursday. "We will follow any guidelines set (by the state), but I don't think we will have a fair like we normally do.
"We will have an abbreviated fair, if anything," Blum said. "It's a heck of a mess."
The Richland County Fair is scheduled Aug. 9 to 15 on the fairgrounds on Mansfield's north side.
Finances for the fairgrounds remain tight with no events taking place during the pandemic, according to Blum, who said the board has saved $9,000 in insurance costs by dialing back its coverage.
A resumption of activities, such as the fair, will require additional insurance expenses, he said.
The state fair announcement came on the Facebook page for the annual event, which attracted nearly 1 million people during its 12-day run in 2019. It had been scheduled July 29 – Aug. 9 this summer in Columbus.
"Knowing how much the Ohio State Fair means to you makes it all the harder to share that this summer, the Ohio State Fair as we all know it will be on hiatus," the Facebook post said.
The fair management team and the Ohio Expositions Commission evaluated all information from state and local health officials and also considered the possibility of a reduced-capacity event in 2020.
"Today, the Ohio Expositions Committee voted to cancel the Ohio State Fair in an effort to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect the Fair for future generations," the Facebook post said.
An updated post on the state fair website said, "The Ohio Expositions Commission is focused on developing a strategy to responsibly reopen its year-round facilities when appropriate, and to welcome guests back for the 2021 Ohio State Fair, scheduled for July 28 through August 8 of next year."