DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowans missed out on a beloved summer tradition last year when the pandemic forced the cancelation of the Iowa State Fair, but Gov. Kim Reynolds is optimistic it will take place in 2021.
“There is going to be an Iowa State Fair this year,” Reynolds predicted on WHO 13’s The Insiders.
The Iowa State Fair was canceled for the first time since World War II last year. Iowa State Fair CEO Gary Slater said the decision to cancel was necessary to protect the health of fairgoers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“After a thorough review of possible options, while carefully reviewing current health guidelines and examining operating limitations, it became clear that holding the 2020 Iowa State Fair, which attracts approximately one million people over 11 days, would not be responsible,” the Iowa State Fair Board said last June.
The fair runs for 11 days in the middle of August. This year it is scheduled to take place Aug. 12-22. The state fair is the biggest event in Iowa and typically attracts more than a million visitors annually. As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, which has claimed the lives of nearly 4,500 Iowans, it remains in question whether it will be safe to hold such a large event.
However, President Joe Biden provided reason for optimism on Monday. Biden said he expects COVID-19 vaccines to be widely available for Americans by spring and that the United States is “well on our way to herd immunity” necessary to end the pandemic by summer. He said the nation could soon be injecting 1.5 million shots on an average per day.
Biden on Tuesday said his administration ordered 200 million more coronavirus vaccines and will be funneling more doses to states. His administration announced plans to increase the amount of the vaccines going to local governments to 10 million doses per week for the next three weeks, up from 8.6 million currently. The Iowa Department of Public Health confirmed that Iowa’s weekly COVID-19 vaccine allotment will increase next week.
The Iowa State Fair said it will follow all COVID-19 safety precautions that are required in August. Organizers are busy planning this year’s events and activities. Earlier this month, the Iowa State Fair announced country music star Blake Shelton will perform at the Grandstand on Aug. 13.
Associated Press and Nexstar Media Wire reporting contributed to this story.