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Sunday, September 27, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Spokane County fair canceled; organizers explore virtual, alternative options

UPDATED: Wed., June 10, 2020

Huge crowds pack the food court area outside a corn dog booth, Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Spokane Interstate Fair, which has been cancelled this year.  (DAN PELLE)
Huge crowds pack the food court area outside a corn dog booth, Saturday, Sept. 14, at the Spokane Interstate Fair, which has been cancelled this year. (DAN PELLE)

Spokane County has canceled the Spokane County Interstate Fair this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but local leaders are looking into alternative formats to possibly hold a virtual or alternative, event this fall.

The Spokane County Interstate Fair is one of dozens across the state that has canceled or gone online due to the coronavirus. The fair normally brings in about $10 million in spending to the community, and last year broke attendance records with more than 200,000 people attending across the 10-day event.

According to a Wednesday night news release, county staff is looking into holding a virtual fair instead . Other organizations, such as the Junior Livestock Show of Spokane , have held virtual shows and participants posted videos of themselves exhibiting their animals.

Jared Webley, a county spokesman, said the biggest issues the county will have to address when not holding a fair is addressing the 4H and FFA animals that would have been exhibited or sold during the event.

Spokane County Fair and Expo Director Erin Gurtel encouraged the community to use the hashtag #fairstrong and look forward to a more traditional celebration in 2021.

“We made this difficult decision in the best interest of the community,” she said. “The health and safety of our attendees, staff, volunteers, exhibitors, vendors, sponsors and attraction providers is our highest priority.”

County Commissioner Al French asked sponsors, partners and the Spokane area to support whatever format the fair takes for the rest of 2020, according to the statement.

“We realize this decision will have a large financial impact to vendors, suppliers, exhibitors, and our community,” French said. “Staff is busy planning fun and creative ways to stay engaged with the community and possibly create a virtual fair experience.”

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