N.C. Mountain State Fair canceled due to coronavirus concerns
Posted July 7, 2020 4:01 p.m. EDT
Fletcher, N.C. — The North Carolina Mountain State Fair has been canceled due to coronavirus concerns, organizers announced Tuesday.
The fair was set to take place Sept. 11-20 in Fletcher. Held annually since 1994, last year's event saw more than 171,000 people attend.
Organizers pointed to the recent rise in positive coronavirus tests and social distancing requirements that limit the size of gatherings.
"The fair is a magical place that is meant to offer an opportunity to temporarily escape the day-to-day,” state Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler said via a press release. “The lights, the smells, the food, the rides, the music and the fairgoers come together to make it a memorable experience. To offer anything less than a full experience and our very best efforts shortchanges everyone.”
Officials said the decision to cancel the fair early has helped them avoid expenses. The fair costs more than $1 million each year.
The Western North Carolina Agricultural Center itself has had 76 events canceled due to the coronavirus. Troxler said that the department is committed to hosting a junior livestock show and other events at the center.
"I have also asked staff to come up with ideas for events that we may be able to host at the Ag Center in place of a fair. I hope we can couple any events with a canned food drive because the issue of hunger never takes a break, and in fact the need is greater because of this pandemic," Troxler said.
At last year's festival, a hot tub display in the agricultural center was linked to an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease that left four people dead. Of the more than 130 cases were confirmed, 96 required hospitalization, according to a report from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Resources.
Legionnaire’s disease is a form of bacterial pneumonia, or lung infection. It can be treated with antibiotics.
There have been no updates about the North Carolina State Fair, which is planned Oct. 15-25 at the N.C. State Fairgrounds in Raleigh.