Pomona – The LA County Fair, slated for Sept. 4-27, was recently canceled due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. This is the first time the LA County Fair has been canceled since World War II. Since the fair’s opening in 1922, the fair has only been canceled once from 1942 to 1947 due to the war. The fair did close for one day on Sept. 22, 2001 after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but it reopened the following day.
The 2020 LA County Fair was canceled due to the “limitations placed on large public gatherings by state and county public health officials because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Renee Hernandez in a news release. “For the safety and well-being of guests, Fair officials are following the guidelines of public health officials who are advising against large public gatherings for the remainder of the year,” added Hernandez.
The LA County Fair sees approximately “1.1 million guests during its 19-day run and has an estimated economic impact of $324 million annually in Los Angeles County, with $58 million in the City of Pomona and securing more than 500 full-time equivalent jobs,” according to the news release. The Fair is expected to celebrate their 100-year anniversary in 2022.
Fairplex President and CEO Miguel A. Santana says that the decision to cancel the event was not easy to make. “My heart is heavy, for our guests who come out to make memories, our vendors who rely on the Fair circuit for their income and our employees who work so hard all year-long to create this special event,” Santana said. “The LA County Fair is an iconic event that celebrates the best of Southern California. It is beloved by many. But we had to take into consideration the health and safety of everyone.”
Los Angeles County Fair Association Board of Directors’ Chair Heidi Hanson agreed by saying they had no choice but to cancel, even though it was hard to do. “The one thing we can promise is that the LA County Fair will be back, better than ever – especially as we plan for our Centennial,” added Hanson.
Los Angeles County First District Supervisor Hilda L. Solis also spoke about the cancellation, since the Fair resides in her district. Solis said it will be disappointing, but necessary to miss the end-of-summer celebration, according to the release.
“Like many of you, I grew up eagerly anticipating each year’s opening of the LA County Fair, and I cherish my family memories of this special yearly event,” said Solis.
“Unfortunately, we have had to make the difficult decision to cancel the LA County Fair due to our current public health crisis. We must make these short term sacrifices to preserve the health of the people we love. We do this to protect our communities. I am certain that once we get through this challenging time, we will come back stronger and even more appreciative of the things we love and hold dear.”
Los Angeles County Fifth District Supervisor Kathryn Barger also commented on the closure, since a portion of the Fairplex is located in her district.
“Like every fan of the LA County Fair, I am saddened to hear of its cancellation this year. I love the Fair and have many fond memories from my experiences with family and friends,” Barger said. “But we are in the middle of a major public health crisis and our priority is the safety and well-being of all of our residents. Through our efforts to slow the spread, I know we will soon be able to enjoy activities like the LA County Fair again.”
That sentiment was echoed by the head of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Dr. Barbara Ferrer, PhD, MPH, MEd. “Our recovery journey is underway, but it will be a slow one. Working together to slow the spread of COVID-19 is our new normal for the foreseeable future. But I have faith that if we continue to make these difficult but necessary decisions now, we will be able to enjoy all that the LA County Fair has to offer next year.”
Those who have already purchased season pass boxes were informed that they can receive a refund. The following three refunds options are available: credit toward the 2021 Fair plus one extra season pass; turning their purchase into a donation to the Fairplex COVID-19 emergency fund for the community; or a full refund. Information on refunds can be found at www.lacountyfair.com/refunds.
The Fairplex in Pomona, CA has been the home of the LA County Fair for years, in addition to the 300 year-round events. However, they announced they are canceling the remainder of its self-produced events for the rest of 2020, including June’s Cheers Wine, Beer and Food Festival; Fourth of July spectacular KABOOM!; Oktoberfest; and the Day of the Dead celebration En Memoria.
However, the Fairplex has continued its community benefit mission by working with partners to offer coronavirus testing, hold drive-thru food pantries and offer free childcare for the children of healthcare workers, first responders and essential workers at its Child Development Center. For more information on Fairplex, visit www.fairplex.com.