Due to concerns over the ongoing coronavirus crisis, the Los Angeles County Fair has been canceled for only the second time in its nearly 100-year history, officials announced Thursday.
Neighboring Ventura and Orange counties had already canceled their seaside events for the year amid the pandemic.
“The LA County Fair will go on a hiatus, with no spin of the Ferris Wheel, no farm filled with animals and no legendary bands in the Grandstand this September,” states a news release from the Pomona Fairplex, where the event is held every year.
The event was slated to be held between Sept. 4 and 27.
“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,” Fairplex President and CEO Miguel A. Santana said in a statement. “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.”
The Fair closed during World War II from 1942 to 1947. It also closed for the day on Sept. 11, 2001, but reopened the following day, officials said.
Los Angeles County Supervisor Hilda Solis, whose district includes the fairgrounds, said canceling the event is disappointing, but necessary.
“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,” Solis said in a statement. “We must make these short term sacrifices to preserve the health of the people we love. We do this to protect our communities.”
Restrictions are being lifted throughout the county, as California moves to reopen, but public health officials hope to prevent a spike in coronavirus cases by continuing to discourage large gatherings.
As of Thursday, L.A. County had a total of 35,329 coronavirus cases and 1,709 fatalities.
“Our recovery journey is underway, but it will be a slow one,” Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director said. “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.”
Canceling the fair could have financial repercussions, as it brings about approximately 1.1 million guests to the fairgrounds during its run. Officials said the event, which will celebrate its 100th anniversary in 2022, has an estimated economic impact of $324 million annually in the county, with $58 million in the City of Pomona alone.
Officials will offer refunds to those who bought season passes to the fair; “Superfans” can either receive credit toward the 2021 fair plus one extra season pass, turn their purchase into a donation to the Fairplex COVID-19 emergency fund, or get a full refund.
Information on refunds can be found at www.lacountyfair.com/refunds.