TIMONIUM, Md. (WJZ) — The Maryland State Fair is officially canceled for 2020, WJZ confirmed Wednesday.

The fair was originally set this year to be from August 27 to September 7.

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“Today, it is with heavy hearts that the Board of Directors, management and staff of the Maryland State Fair & Agricultural Society, Inc. announce the decision to cancel the 139th Maryland State Fair,” said Maryland State Fair Board Chairman Gerry L. Brewster. “Fortunately, we have received approval to allow youth and open class exhibitors from Maryland to show their animals in livestock shows following all proper protocols. Although this will not be open to the public, this will allow Maryland’s youth to showcase their hard work and will also allow the Maryland State Fair to fulfill its mission to educate and to showcase Maryland Agriculture.”

The last and only other time in 142 years the fair was canceled was during World War II, when the property was used by the U.S. Military.

“We understand that our faithful annual attendees will be disappointed. We are disappointed too, but know that this decision is in the best interest and health of our vendors, exhibitors, staff and our over half a million visitors,” said Maryland State Fair President Donna Myers. “We are thankful for their continued support.”

Typically, the fair draws 500,000 people. General manager Andy Cashman said, with the large of a crowd, it wouldn’t be a safe environment for participants or for vendors.

“We have to be safe and responsible and make sure we do the safe and right thing,” he said.

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Cashman said there will still be a junior and open class livestock showcase. However, it will not be open to the public.

The decision comes at a hefty cost for the fairground, which hasn’t seen a paycheck since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While this year is a loss, Marylanders said they’re looking forward to next year.

“Just staying positive, keeping motivated and accepting the new normal, because it is a new normal,” said Timonium resident Diane Allen.

The Board of Directors said its already started planning for the best 12 days of summer when the Maryland State Fair returns next year.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Rachel Menitoff