While many neighboring state fairs opted to cancel for 2020, the Kentucky State Fair will go on. On Tuesday, June 9, Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear approved a plan that will allow the state fair to take place in 2020, although with some modifications.
The governor chose not to provide complete details on how the fair would be different, but did state during his press conference that there will be "significantly" less vendors and many things will "look very different."
State Fair staff, vendors, judges, and livestock participants will be required to wear facial coverings. On the midway, enhanced social distancing will be in place for midway queuing. The plan also includes plans for wider aisles inside buildings, reduced indoor capacity, and additional hygiene stations to be placed throughout the grounds. Livestock competitions will be reduced by up to 69% according to reports.
To provide for more space, the concert area will be expanded to 5.2 acres from the existing footprint of 1.9 acres. Projector screens will be installed for increased viewing and seating will be expanded from 32 inch rows to 6 foot rows with 10 foot cross aisles.
In 2019, the Kentucky State Fair drew 589,170 guests and ranked number 30 in attendance on CarnivalWarehouse.com's Top 50 Fairs Ranking. Earlier this year, the Kentucky State Fair awarded Kissel Entertainment the contract to provide the midway at the fair through 2023.
"We are thrilled to have the Kentucky State Fair as our partner. I salute the executive committee, fair board, and governor's office, who have led the way in keeping the American fair alive. It's our time to shine. It's Kentucky's time to shine. God bless America," said Russ Kissel, of Kissel Entertainment.
The 2020 state fair will take place August 20-30 at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville.