DURHAM, CT (WFSB) - Connecticut's largest fair has canceled this year due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Daniel Miramant, president of the Durham Agricultural Fair Association, released a statement on Thursday.
During these very challenging times, we have been confronted with a life situation that was unexpected, historic and has affected all our lives. Our beloved Fair has endured for over a century through countless challenging situations and world situations. Only four times in our history has the Durham Fair been canceled. Three times for World War II (1942 – 1944) and once for the hurricane of 1938.
We are currently faced with a different type of natural disaster, a world pandemic. This pandemic has impacted all of us both on a personal and professional level and has changed the world we live in. Given these challenging and changing times, we have been faced with making a very difficult decision regarding our historic Fair.
Over the past several weeks, the decision to hold our 2020 Fair has been at the forefront of our discussions. Knowing that we are the largest country fair in the State of Connecticut as well as one of the state’s largest mass gathering events, has played a critical role in this decision. We have been consistently monitoring the progress of both Federal and State guidelines to determine its impact on our Fair.
We regard the health and safety of our volunteers, our exhibitors, our fairgoers and surrounding community as being the utmost importance in any decisions regarding our Fair.
Given the uncertainty of this deadly virus, the potential resurgence during the fall timeframe and the health, safety and logistical impacts of our volunteers, fairgoers and community, our Directors have voted decisively to cancel the 2020 Fair. This decision was reached as a result of a well vetted and comprehensive process. A heartfelt decision, we are committed to return to our traditions and agricultural roots stronger than ever in the fall of 2021.
We wish you the best of health during these challenging times and anxiously look forward to when we can all be together again. Be Safe and God Bless!
The Berlin Fair announced its cancellation on Wednesday.
"Imagine a campus like this, 200,000 people on this campus. It would be virtually impossible," Miramant said.
The fair committee is worried about the more than 25 non-profits and businesses who use the fair as a revenue booster.
"For a lot of them, or most of them, this is their largest fundraising opportunity annually. So, the fact they now don't have that was a huge factor in our decision," Miramant said.
The Durham Fair is hoping to return for the 2021 season with a few surprises.
Other fairs, such as those in Woodstock and North Stonington, Bridgewater and Brooklyn, announced their cancellations last week.
Stay with Channel 3 for continuing coverage of the coronavirus outbreak.