Coronavirus: State Fair of Texas canceled for first time since World War II

'We cannot predict what the COVID-19 pandemic will look like in September'

DALLAS – You won’t be able to say “howdy” to Big Tex this year as the State Fair of Texas has been canceled for 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This was an extremely tough decision. The health and safety of all involved has remained our top priority throughout the decision-making process,” Gina Norris, board chair for the State Fair of Texas, wrote on the fair’s website. “One of the greatest aspects of the Fair is welcoming each and every person who passes through our gates with smiles and open arms. In the current climate of COVID-19, there is no feasible way for the Fair to put proper precautions in place while maintaining the Fair environment you know and love. While we cannot predict what the COVID-19 pandemic will look like in September, the recent surge in positive cases is troubling for all of North Texas. The safest and most responsible decision we could make for all involved at this point in our 134-year history is to take a hiatus for the 2020 season.”

This will be the first time since World War II since the state fair has been canceled.

The fair was previously canceled because of World War I (1918), planning for the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition and 1937 Pan American Exposition at Fair Park (1935–1937) and World War II (1942–1945).

Austin City Limits music festival canceled for 2020 because of coronavirus

The decision whether college football games between the University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma and Prairie View A&M University and Grambling State University, which would normally be played at the Cotton Bowl during the fair, will be determined by the NCAA, their respective conference and universities.

The 2021 State Fair of Texas is scheduled to run Friday, September 24 through Sunday, October 17 in historic Fair Park.

The fair is the latest big event to be canceled in Texas due to the pandemic.

The Austin City Limits music festival, which usually draws hundreds of thousands of people to the capital city in October, will not be held. Another popular event in Austin, the South by Southwest festival, was canceled in March.

San Antonio’s biggest event of the year, Fiesta, was postponed from April to Nov. 5, but officials could still cancel the 2-week-long celebration, which includes dozens of events and two major parades.

About the Author:

David Ibañez has been managing editor of since the website's launch in October 2000.