The board overseeing the Orange County Fair voted unanimously Monday to cancel this year’s event due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The board chose to drop the event based in part on comments from Governor Gavin Newsom two weeks ago that large meetings would be unlikely until August, said Terry Moore, a spokeswoman for the fair. Consultations with Orange County Health Director Dr. Nichole Quick also influenced the decision, Moore said.
The board simply discussed postponing the fair, but even in the fall social distancing and the logistics of maintaining adequate space among clients would appear to be too difficult to organize, Moore said.
“The board decided to cancel and work on planning for next year,” said Moore.
The fair was canceled between 1942 and 1947 during and after World War II, but has otherwise been an annual staple, authorities said.
The fair generated around $ 11.8 million last year and attracts approximately 1.3 million visitors. It is believed to have an economic impact of $ 350 million each year.
Sandra Cervantes, chair of the board of directors for the Orange County Event and Fair Center, said the decision “was not made lightly.”
“Although many of our attendees have expressed great disappointment at the idea of the 2020 Fair being canceled, we firmly believe that it is the right thing to do in this current situation,” said Cervantes.
“However, we will keep the spirit of the Orange County Fair alive with virtual fair concepts such as contests, entertainment, and concessions to bring the fair experience to guests through their website, ocfair.com, and social media.” .
Fair organizers are considering virtual concerts by some artists associated with the fair, and are reissuing old recordings of performances at the fair and putting them on social media, Moore said.
The 130th fair was scheduled to take place from July 17 to August 16.
Cervantes promised to “do everything in our power to maintain the current workforce.” The fairground has reserve funds.
Authorities hope to hold some events in the fall that were canceled earlier this year.