COVID-19 Updates

2021 State Fair of Texas Updates

August 25, 2021

State Fair of Texas Health & Safety Briefing 

30 Days until Opening Day 

All guidelines are subject to change based on updated circumstances 

The State Fair of Texas team continues to work hard to ensure a safe environment for everyone during the Fair this year. 

Big Tex needs every fairgoer to do their part and most of all, be respectful of others and do the right thing. The current health situation makes for a challenging backdrop for the 135-year State Fair of Texas tradition. Of course, we would love for everyone to attend the State Fair this year and continue the great family traditions that make the event special to so many, however, we understand that some will be hesitant. We ask that those who attend do so because they are willing to follow our health guidelines – not because it’s mandated, but because it’s the right thing to do. 

During these times, we acknowledge that no event can be completely risk-free, and we’re counting on you to do your part to help us present as safe of an event as we can by following the below health guidance, which is subject to change: 

Get vaccinated. If you’re fully vaccinated, thank you! If you’re not, now is the time to be protected for when the Fair’s Opening Day arrives. That’s the best thing you can do for yourself and for everyone, especially children under age 12 and others who cannot currently get vaccinated. It’s widely recognized that the vast majority of all current COVID-19 cases are among unvaccinated people. While we will not (and cannot legally) require you to show proof of vaccination or a recent negative COVID-19 test to enter the Fair, if you’re not vaccinated and plan to attend, we urge you to do your research, talk to your doctor, and consider a vaccine, both for your safety and the safety of others. If you can’t get one beforehand, our friends at Dallas County Health & Human Services are offering free vaccines at Big Tex Circle from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. all 24 days of the State Fair. Dallas County plans to administer the Pfizer vaccine for those who are receiving their first dose (Note: As of August 23, 2021, the FDA has granted formal approval to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine). Dallas County will also have the Moderna vaccine available for people who are receiving their second dose of that vaccine. Dallas County is planning to offer an incentive of $20 in State Fair food and ride coupons to those who are eligible and receive their vaccine while at the Fair. Only Dallas County residents are eligible to receive the incentive of $20 in State Fair food and ride coupons. 

Make an informed decision about attending the Fair. Before you visit, make sure you’ve considered your personal health situation and how you can best keep yourself and those close to you safe and healthy. The Texas Department of State Health Services has a comprehensive webpage on COVID-19 with the latest information on testing, vaccinations, symptoms, what to do if you feel ill, protecting yourself and others, and more. Visit https://www.dshs.texas.gov/coronavirus/ for more information.  

Wear a face covering. Masks protect everyone. Plan to bring a mask for yourself and everyone in your party with you to attend the 2021 State Fair of TexasWear a mask in the following settings if you are older than age 2 and medically able to wear one: 

  • Indoors, for both vaccinated and unvaccinated people. As of August 25, given the current situation with increasing COVID cases in Dallas County and the current Dallas County order on the Required Use of a Face Mask in Certain Public Space, masks will be required when indoors. Wearing a mask in indoor public spaces, regardless of your vaccination status, can help protect you and everyone in close proximity to you. 
  • Outdoors in crowded settings, especially if you are not vaccinated. 
  • At some independent vendor booths who may require everyone in their booth to wear a mask. 

We are largely an outdoor event with plenty of eating and drinking. Approximately 80% of the State Fair is held in outdoor settings. Mandating masks fairgrounds-wide would be extremely difficult for our organization to enforce, so we are urging you to pitch in and do your part by following the above guidelines. Particularly if you go inside, simply put a face covering on for the time you’re shopping, attending a show, or visiting an exhibit.  

Again, we ask that you bring your own mask with you to the Fair, but if you forget yours, we’ll have a supply at our gates for you. Just ask at the gate attendant when you enter or at an information booth on the fairgrounds. 

Wear a face covering if you take DART to the Fair. Many guests arrive at the Fair via DART or other forms of mass transit. Federal regulations require all public transportation passengers to wear masks while they are waiting for and on a train (those under age 2 or who are medically not able to tolerate a mask are exempt). Rideshare apps such as Uber and Lyft may have their own mask requirements. 

 Social distance. Please spread out when you can and wear a mask when you can’t. The fairgrounds are huge, and most activities are outdoors where social distancing is much easier. We’ve created more space in some high-traffic areas and we are adding many more outdoor seating areas. If one area of the Fair is busy, explore new places. Wherever you go, there’s plenty to eat, to do, and to see. 

  • Consider attending on a weekday instead of a weekend. Weekdays traditionally are much less crowded than weekends and attending on a weekday provides you with many discount admission offers.   

Use hand sanitizer or wash your hands frequently. More than 500 free hand sanitizer stations are made available by the State Fair throughout the fairgrounds. Plus, there are hand sanitizing stations throughout the barns and livestock areas, where it’s especially important to wash your hands after visiting the animals. 

Stay home if you’re not feeling well or you’ve had close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Get tested and get well before you visit the Fair. If within the 14 days before you attend the Fair you have tested positive or presumptively positive for COVID-19, experienced any related symptoms or been in direct contact with or in the immediate vicinity of any person who is confirmed or suspected of being infected with COVID-19, even if you do not have symptoms, please stay home. 

Most of all, please respect your fellow fairgoers. We’re all in this together. And please remember that some operators may be short-staffed due to labor shortages. Please practice patience and be kind to those who showed up to work and serve you at the great State Fair of Texas. 

Please visit the CDC’s website for more information on how to protect yourself from COVID-19. 

CDC guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html     

CDC guidelines for non-vaccinated individuals:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html  

COVID-19 is an extremely contagious virus that can lead to severe illness and even death. An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place regardless of precautions that may be taken. By entering the fairgrounds, you voluntarily assume all risks, hazards and dangers related to exposure, contracting and/or transmitting COVID-19, and voluntarily waive all claims and suits against the State Fair of Texas. 

 All information is subject to change. We will continue to monitor the situation and communicate updates as Opening Day draws closer.  


August 10, 2021

State Fair of Texas Safety Briefing 

The State Fair of Texas team is working hard to ensure a safe environment for everyone during the Fair this year, so when you are ready to celebrate all things Texan this fall, Big Tex will be here to welcome you back. We are constantly in conversations, evaluating the latest guidance and protocols as they emerge from the national, state, and local levels. Additionally, we encourage people who are eligible to get vaccinated. 

The health and safety of everyone is always the State Fair’s top priority. The Fair will implement procedures and guidelines to protect public health. All policies will align with current government mandates, applicable to the State Fair of Texas.  

Unless otherwise required by government mandate, while visiting the 2021 State Fair of Texas, masks will not be required for fully vaccinated individuals, including guests, staff, vendors, and contractors.  

If you are not vaccinated, all guests, staff, vendors, and contractors are strongly encouraged to wear a mask and to follow CDC guidelines regarding whether and when wearing a face covering is warranted.  

While the majority of the fairgrounds is outdoors, we encourage all guests to wear masks when visiting indoor locations. Please visit the CDC’s website for more information on how to protect yourself from COVID-19. 

CDC guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html     

CDC guidelines for non-vaccinated individuals:
 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/prevention.html  

Proof of vaccination is not required to attend the State Fair of Texas. 

COVID-19 is an extremely contagious virus that can lead to severe illness and even death. An inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place regardless of precautions that may be taken. By entering the fairgrounds, you voluntarily assume all risks, hazards and dangers related to exposure/contracting COVID-19, and voluntarily waive all claims and suits against the State Fair of Texas. 

All information is subject to change. We will continue to monitor the situation and send updates as Opening Day draws closer. 


 

June 2, 2021

After a year hiatus, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the time-honored tradition of the State Fair of Texas is returning in all its Lone Star glory on Friday, September 24 through Sunday, October 17. It has been nearly two years since we closed the gates and said so long after the 2019 State Fair, and with more anticipation for fall than ever before, we are counting the days until we welcome back people from all walks of life with a great, big, “Howdy, Folks!” at the 2021 State Fair of Texas.

When the Fair opens, it may look slightly different from every other year to ensure a safe environment, implementing applicable preventive measures recommended by the CDC and other relevant health and government agencies. We plan to communicate any COVID-19 related precautions closer to Opening Day.

Visit BigTex.com/News as we continue to release information related to this year’s event.

 

Spring 2021

Planning continues for the 2021 State Fair of Texas during the COVID-19 pandemic with an optimistic and measured approach because producing an event of this size and scope, that means so much to so many, requires year-round efforts. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Fair has explored ways to host a State Fair safely for everyone – fairgoers, staff, vendors, exhibitors, partners, and our neighbors in South Dallas.

Due to the loss of our largest fundraiser last year – the 2020 State Fair of Texas – our nonprofit organization suffered a significant loss. Even with this loss, we were able to meet all our obligations to the City of Dallas, make a $2.5 million contribution to the City for Fair Park improvements, and continue funding our nonprofit initiatives.

The State Fair team is optimistic, while planning for multiple scenarios, with the hopes of hosting a 2021 State Fair of Texas. When the Fair opens, it may look different from every other year to ensure a safe environment, implementing applicable preventive measures recommended by the CDC and other relevant health and government agencies.

We hope if we are able to host a State Fair this year that the community will come together to support us and celebrate all things Texan. We will provide updates as we get closer to Opening Day of this year’s State Fair. The 2021 State Fair of Texas runs from Friday, September 24 through Sunday, October 17 at Fair Park in Dallas.

July 24, 2020

ADDITIONAL LIVESTOCK EVENTS ADDED

The State Fair of Texas livestock department has been hard at work putting together possible participation opportunities for Texas youth to showcase their animals in a safe environment for both exhibitors and staff. The Fair is proud to announce another round of shows will be available to Texas youth – some virtual, and some in Waco, Texas through an unprecedented partnership with the Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo.

Click here to read more.

July 17, 2020

REVISED 2020 LIVESTOCK MARKET SHOW SCHEDULE

With agriculture as one of the foundational pillars of our organization, the State Fair of Texas is proud to announce a preliminary revised 2020 livestock market show schedule. Although the 2020 State Fair of Texas is canceled due to the current landscape related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fair is committed to offering youth livestock participation opportunities in a safe environment for our exhibitors and staff, to carry-on our nonprofit mission of promoting agriculture, education, and community involvement.

The State Fair of Texas looks forward to offering youth livestock market events, even in this unprecedented environment of COVID-19. The revised 2020 livestock market show schedule* will be spread out over 10 days, between September 23 and October 2 in Fair Park, concluding with the annual Big Tex Youth Livestock Auction on Friday, October 2, 2020

Click here to read more.

July 13, 2020

Keeping the Creative Arts Tradition Alive

Dating back to 1886, creative arts has always been one of our most treasured State Fair of Texas traditions, and although the 2020 State Fair is on hiatus due to current landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic, we did what we do best and found a way to creatively keep this tradition alive. The revised 2020 Creative Arts Handbook includes more than 900 arts & crafts contests – and the registration deadline has been extended to September 1, 2020. While historically the Fair has more than 1,100 contests, we are committed to offering as many creative arts participation opportunities in a safe environment for our participants, to carry-on our nonprofit mission of promoting agriculture, education, and community involvement. Click here to read more.

July 7, 2020

UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN IN 2021

After extensive consideration of the current landscape related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the health and safety of all fairgoers, staff, business partners, and overall community, the State Fair of Texas Board of Directors has voted to cancel the 2020 State Fair of Texas. 

 This was an extremely tough decision. The health and safety of all involved has remained our top priority throughout the decision-making process,” said Gina Norris, board chair for the State Fair of Texas. “One of the greatest aspects of the Fair is welcoming each and every person who passes through our gates with smiles and open arms. In the current climate of COVID-19, there is no feasible way for the Fair to put proper precautions in place while maintaining the Fair environment you know and loveWhile we cannot predict what the COVID-19 pandemic will look like in September, the recent surge in positive cases is troubling for all of North Texas. The safest and most responsible decision we could make for all involved at this point in our 134-year history is to take a hiatus for the 2020 season.”  

The Fair’s commitment to our nonprofit mission of promoting agriculture, education, and community involvement will continue. The Big Tex Youth Livestock Auction and livestock shows, Big Tex Scholarship Program, Big Tex Urban Farms, and our community outreach initiatives will continue to have funding and we commit to maintaining as many participation opportunities as possible as it relates to livestock and creative arts 

While the State Fair of Texas is canceled for 2020, the NCAA, respective conferences, and participating universities – the University of Texas University of Oklahoma and Prairie View A&M University & Grambling State University – will be in charge of making decisions regarding the football games that occur at Cotton Bowl Stadium during this unprecedented time of COVID-19. Should football be played this fall, the schools will be playing in the Cotton Bowl as scheduled, despite the cancellation of the 2020 State Fair. We will share those details as soon as we know more.   

The decision-making process has been thoughtful and extensive. The Fair gathered input from fairgoers, concessionaires, commercial exhibitors, Midway operators, auto manufacturers, business partners, staff, medical experts, and government officials to consider while coming to this conclusion. The Fair realizes the impact not holding a Fair will have on our loyal fans, valued partners, and the North Texas economy, but we must do what is right for the health and wellness of our community.  

With health and safety as the top priority, the management team and the board of directors have been discussing all potential scenarios since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The team has brainstormed many ways to make this year’s event occur, creating various contingency plans and approaches, but knows that all these plans fail if our annual celebration of Texas contributes to any further spread of the virus through our community.  

While we are heartbroken at the notion of not welcoming more than 2.5 million of our closest friends for this annual celebration of the Lone Star State, the excitement we feel in moving forward with planning the 2021 State Fair of Texas and keeping this 134-year tradition alive will keep us motivated until we can greet our fairgoers, seasonal staff, and business partners again in a safe environment,” said Mitchell Glieber, president of the State Fair of Texas. 

This will be the first time since World War II that the State Fair of Texas has not opened. The State Fair of Texas has previously canceled Fairs because of World War I (1918), planning for the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition and 1937 Pan American Exposition at Fair Park (1935 – 1937), and World War II (1942 – 1945). 

The 2021 State Fair of Texas is scheduled to run Friday, September 24 through Sunday, October 17 in historic Fair Park.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why was the State Fair of Texas canceled?
After extensive consideration of the current landscape related to the COVID-19 pandemic and the health and safety of all fairgoers, staff, business partners, and overall community, the State Fair of Texas Board of Directors has voted to cancel the 2020 State Fair of Texas.

This was an extremely tough decision. This will be the first time since World War II that the State Fair of Texas has not opened. The decision-making process has been thoughtful and extensive. With the recent increase in positive cases and hospitalizations in Dallas County we felt that this was the best decision for all parties. The Fair gathered input from fairgoers, concessionaires, commercial exhibitors, Midway operators, auto manufacturers, business partners, staff, medical experts, and government officials in contemplation of this decision. The Fair realizes the impact not holding a Fair will have on our loyal fans, valued partners, and the North Texas economy, but we must do what is right for the health and wellness of our community.

Who made the decision to cancel the 2020 State Fair of Texas?
With health and safety as the top priority, the State Fair’s management team and the board of directors have been discussing all potential scenarios since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The team has brainstormed many ways to make this year’s event occur, creating various contingency plans and approaches, but knows that all these plans fail if our annual celebration of Texas contributes to any further spread of the virus through our community. With all of this in mind, on July 7, 2020, the State Fair of Texas Board of Directors voted to officially cancel the 2020 State Fair of Texas due to COVID-19 concerns.

Is this the first time the State Fair of Texas has been canceled?
No; This will be the ninth Fair in our 134-year history that has been canceled. The State Fair of Texas has previously canceled Fairs because of World War I (1918), planning for the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition and 1937 Pan American Exposition at Fair Park (1935 – 1937), and World War II (1942 – 1945).

Is the Fair planning any alternative activities or events?
The State Fair of Texas is considering all potential options as it relates to alternative activations in lieu of this year’s State Fair, within the current COVID-19 environment. We will announce any alternative activations at BigTex.com and through our social media channels. To be the first to know, sign up for the Big Tex Insider e-newsletter at BigTex.com/Insider.

Will there be any virtual Fair events?
The State Fair of Texas is considering all potential options as it relates to alternative activations in lieu of this year’s State Fair, within the current COVID-19 environment. We will announce any alternative activations at BigTex.com and through our social media channels. To be the first to know, sign up for the Big Tex Insider e-newsletter at BigTex.com/Insider.

Will there be a 2021 State Fair of Texas?
Yes; The Fair will return in 2021 to historic Fair Park. The 2021 State Fair of Texas is scheduled for Friday, September 24 through Sunday, October 17, 2021.

With the loss of its largest fundraiser of the year, will the Fair be able to continue funding its nonprofit mission of supporting agriculture, education, and community involvement?
Yes; While canceling the 2020 State Fair of Texas will result in a significant financial loss, we are fortunate to be in a healthy financial position at this time to continue to support our nonprofit mission until we are able to open the Fair in 2021.

The Big Tex Youth Livestock Auction and livestock shows, Big Tex Scholarship Program, Big Tex Urban Farms, and our community outreach initiatives will continue to have funding. In addition, we commit to maintaining as many participation opportunities as possible as it relates to livestock and creative arts. Stay tuned for more updates on these contests.

Will the Fair still be able to fund its financial obligations to the city of Dallas for Fair Park?
Yes; Following the results of the 2019 State Fair of Texas, the Fair committed $2.5 million to the city of Dallas in 2020 towards upkeep of Fair Park. In addition, the Fair currently pays $1.55 million in annual rent to the city of Dallas to call Fair Park home of the State Fair of Texas.

I’ve already bought season passes. What are my options?
The State Fair of Texas greatly appreciates the support of its loyal season pass holders. Following the cancellation of the 2020 State Fair of Texas, the Fair will automatically issue refunds for those who have already purchased tickets and season passes. No further action is required on your behalf. You will automatically receive a refund in the amount of your full purchase price including order fees and shipping. Please allow 10-14 days from the date of cancellation for the refund to be processed by your bank or financial institution. If you have any questions, please contact tickets@bigtex.com.

Can I use leftover coupons next year?
Yes; State Fair of Texas coupons for food, beverages, and rides never expire. Hold on to those for next year’s Fair.

I wanted to show my project animal or participate in the creative arts contests. What are my options?
We commit to maintaining as many participation opportunities as possible as it relates to livestock and creative arts. We will communicate information related to these as soon as possible. In the meantime, if you have any urgent questions concerning livestock, please contact livestock@bigtex.com, and for urgent questions concerning Creative Arts, please contact creativearts@bigtex.com.

What does this mean for the historic college football rivalries during the Fair – State Fair Classic and AT&T Red River Showdown?
While the State Fair of Texas is canceled for 2020, the NCAA, respective conferences, and participating universities – the University of Texas & University of Oklahoma and Prairie View A&M University & Grambling State University – will be in charge of making decisions regarding the football games that occur at Cotton Bowl Stadium during this unprecedented time of COVID-19.

Should football be played this fall, the schools will be playing in the Cotton Bowl as scheduled, despite the cancellation of the 2020 State Fair. We will share those details as soon as we know more.

I’m a Big Tex Scholar. Will my Big Tex Scholarship still be funded?
Yes; The Fair remains committed to our nonprofit mission of promoting agriculture, education, and community involvement. The Big Tex Scholarship Program will proceed as normal, funding all current recipients. In addition, the 2021 application will be open Friday, September 25, 2020 through Monday, February 1, 2021. To learn more about the Big Tex Scholarship Program or how to donate, please visit BigTex.com/Scholarship.

Will you be accepting applications to the Big Tex Scholarship Program?
Yes; The State Fair of Texas is committed to awarding eligible graduating high school seniors with new college scholarships in 2021. The application will be open Friday, September 25, 2020 through Monday, February 1, 2021. To learn more about the Big Tex Scholarship Program or how to donate, please visit BigTex.com/Scholarship.

Can I still purchase 2020 themed merchandise?
Yes; Our website, BigTexStore.com, will feature merchandise with 2020’s theme, “Celebrating Texas Icons.”

Who do I contact if I have a question that has not been answered yet?
If your question relates to a specific department, please feel free to reach out to the below:

Livestock participants, please contact livestock@bigtex.com.
Creative Arts participants, please contact creativearts@bigtex.com.
Commercial exhibitors, please contact exhibits@bigtex.com.
Concessionaires, please contact concessions@bigtex.com.
Sponsors, please contact ljefferson@bigtex.com.
Media, please contact the Fair’s spokesperson at kcondoianis@bigtex.com.

For any general inquiries, please contact info@bigtex.com.

Note: Due to high volume, response time may be delayed.

June 17, 2020

Howdy folks,
The State Fair of Texas will make an announcement by mid to late July concerning the status of the 2020 FairWith health and safety as the top priority, the management team and the board of directors have been discussing all potential scenarios since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. The board of directors, in conjunction with government officials, is expected to decide on whether or not the 2020 State Fair of Texas will occur by mid to late July.

Health and safety for all remains the top priority for the Fair. Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Fair has explored ways to host the 2020 Fair safely for everyone – fairgoers, staff, vendors, exhibitors, partners, and our neighbors in South Dallas.  

Every day more businesses begin to open, and more information is coming from experts on how businesses can operate and keep customers safe. Over the coming weeks, we will see what that means for large events. Discussions surrounding the 2020 State Fair of Texas and what that may or may not look like continue on a daily basisIf the Fair opens, it will look different from every other year in order to ensure a safe environmentWays in which this year’s Fair might be different include, but are not limited to: limited daily attendance, pre-purchased tickets by day, health screenings at gates and other health safety precautions throughout the groundssocial distancing measures throughout the grounds, and diversifying entertainment and attractions, including modifying date and time specific events to more free-flowing events. If the Fair is granted approval to open it will implement all preventive measures recommended by the CDC and other relevant health and government agencies. 

Planning has continued for the Fair during this pandemic with an optimistic and measured approach because producing an event of this size and scope, that means so much to so many, requires year-round efforts. The State Fair of Texas is committed to doing what is right for the health and wellness of our community-at-large 

The decision will be announced by mid to late July. The 2020 State Fair of Texas is scheduled to run from September 25 through October 18 in historic Fair Park. To stay up to date on the Fair’s official status, check back here at BigTex.com, or follow the State Fair of Texas (@StateFairofTX) on social media.

April 15, 2020

Howdy folks,

I hope this finds you and your loved ones well. While we are currently in the unprecedented time of COVID-19 and our staff is working from home, I want you to know that planning and preparations continue for the 2020 State Fair of Texas. Producing an event of this size and scope, that Texans and visitors from around the world have come to expect, requires year-round efforts from our hardworking State Fair team to continue in the hopes we are able to open this year.

The health and safety of our guests, staff, and partners are our top priority. We are closely monitoring the evolving COVID-19 situation and will circulate necessary communications, as needed, related to the annual State Fair of Texas.

Unless any orders are in place by local, state, or federal agencies, or health and safety concerns exist, the State Fair of Texas will plan on welcoming guests as usual while implementing all preventive measures recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other relevant health agencies. The State Fair of Texas already maintains very high standards for cleanliness, which assists with illness protection, and we have numerous safety protocols in place. Nevertheless, we are planning to implement additional safety measures to help prevent the spread of illness.

Despite the uncertainties we all face during this time, we look forward to September and having Big Tex welcome everyone to the most Texan place on Earth. However, you can rest assured the State Fair of Texas will do what is right for the health and wellness of our community-at-large.

Check back to BigTex.com regularly or follow the State Fair of Texas (@StateFairofTX) on social media to receive the latest on this year’s State Fair. I hope to see y’all at the Fair this fall.

Warmest regards,

Mitchell Glieber
President
State Fair of Texas