Like countless businesses and organizations, the Wisconsin State Fair has had to make some of the hardest of decisions to keep people safe in the wake of coronavirus.
State Fair CEO Kathleen O’Leary says her team is grieving over what she called an “excruciating” move to cancel the 2020 Fair, but they are “going to shift the focus to try to do something.”
“What can we do? How can we do something? I don’t know what it’s going to look like…but perhaps the Cream Puffs?” she said to WTMJ’s Steve Scaffidi on Friday.
She also cited the possibility of an event to honor young farmers who typically participate in countless events and contests at the annual fair in West Allis.
“I can’t say what it’s going to look like, but we’re thinking it through.”
That thought process now happens after what O’Leary called a months-long effort to adjust the Fair in some capacity.
“We have been analyzing, scrutinizing, looking at every model: How can we modify? How can we work through the restrictions?” she said. But she explained why there was no available alternative.
“We would diminish the experience, first and foremost, but more important, we would compromise safety.”
The decision was elongated as long a possible, according to O’Leary. However, she felt the final week of May was a true deadline.
“It had to happen at the end of the month,” she said.
“With all the layers, all the facets of the Wisconsin State Fair…we had to make the decision, because the vendors and operators had to prepare. They had to order supplies. The insurance, amusement operators…they had to get their labor in. They had to prepare to travel.”