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‘We just don’t think we can do it in a safe manner': North Florida Fair latest in COVID-19 cancellations

Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 10:46 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Wednesday marked a disappointing day for many, as the North Florida Fair was added to the list of COVID-19 cancelations.

While most folks understand why the air of disappointment remains. Wednesday’s announcement means 2020 will mark the first time since World War II there will be no North Florida Fair.

“We just don’t think we can do it in a safe manner that’s good for the public,” said Mark Harvey, the Executive Director of the North Florida Fair Association.

Harvey says monitoring proper social distancing and mask-wearing for the roughly 115,000 people that pass through the gates would prove to be too daunting a task.

“We want to do what’s right for those citizens of the area,” he continued.

While the public reaction is mixed, nobody’s more disappointed than the 80 food vendors and 50 additional vendors who count on the fair circuit to make a living.

“It’s been financially devastating for everybody that’s behind it,” Harvey said. “A lot of the vendors, the carnival company, nobody’s worked this year.”

Leon County’s tourism director says there has not been an economic impact report for the fair, so there’s no way to know how much it might impact the economy.

Harvey says he’s still working to make the most of the situation, trying to effort a fair food night that could still happen in the parking lot of the fairgrounds. That would only happen, he says, if he can get enough vendors to participate.

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