-- This summer’s Indiana State Fair has been called off because of concerns
over the coronavirus, organizers announced Thursday.
Indiana had about
24,000 people apply for unemployment benefits last week, which was fewer
than in recent weeks but far more than it was getting before the coronavirus
reached the state and led to the closure of nonessential businesses.
STATE FAIR CANCELED
The state fair had
been scheduled for Aug. 7-23 and officials had hoped to hold it at the
Indianapolis fairgrounds since the governor said he planned to lift most
statewide coronavirus restrictions on July 4.
however, said preparing for the event requires coordination with hundreds of
businesses and thousands of part-time workers.
“We simply can’t
hold off any longer for the sake of the staff, vendors, exhibitors,
entertainers, sponsors and partners,” organizers said on the fair’s website.
“While we are not sure what August will look like, we have to make decisions
based on what we know today.”
The fair drew
nearly 879,000 visitors during last year’s 17-day run. State fairs have also
been canceled in several other states, including Ohio and Minnesota.
The 4-H Livestock
Show is a major event of the Indiana fair and organizers said they were
working on plans for a modified show to be held in August.
Indiana residents received jobless aid for the week ending May 23, according
to U.S. Department of Labor statistics released Thursday. That is down from
the peak of nearly 295,000 in early May just before statewide business and
travel restrictions started being eased, but still more than 10 times the
level of early March.
Indiana had the
country’s fifth-highest unemployment rate for April, at 16.9%, which
exceeded the national rate of 14.7%.
unemployment applications peaked at 139,000 a week in late March, up from a
typical 3,000 before the virus arrived.
Gov. Eric Holcomb
on Wednesday signed a 30-day extension of the state’s public health
emergency until July 4, when he expects to lift most limits on businesses,
large gatherings and entertainment activities.
plan, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announced Thursday that it would host
an IndyCar-NASCAR doubleheader on July 4 weekend without fans. Track
officials said they had to make a decision with the races less than a month
away and weren’t certain what crowd limits or other restrictions would
remain in place then.
The Indy 500, which
draws upward of 275,000 people as the world’s largest single-day sporting
event, has been postponed by three months until to Aug. 23.