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Kansas State fair officially canceled for 2020

Amy Bickel
Kansas State Fair
Meat goats will show this year at the Kansas State Fair as part of several special events allowed on the farigrounds, but these shows will not be open to the public. [Kansas state fair file photo]

HUTCHINSON — The Kansas State Fair is more than just a fair — it's a celebration of Kansas, a family tradition, a fun and exciting experience for people of all ages. 

For 106 uninterrupted years, the Fair has been the state’s largest gathering of Kansans — with not even the Spanish flu or World Wars halting the annual end-of-summer rite. 

This year, however, will be different. 

The Kansas State Fair Board reconsidered their previous, June 30 action to have the 10-day event and voted Monday to cancel the 2020 Fair. 

Circumstances, including several big vendors pulling out for this year, forced them to reconsider the decision. This year’s Fair was scheduled for Sept. 11-20.

While there will not be a 2020 Kansas State Fair, the Fair will have 4-H and FFA youth livestock competitions, plus open class livestock exhibitions in September. Held with the same prestige and competition found at the traditional Fair, these special contests showcase the superior showmanship and months of hard work and determination of all exhibitors while still maintaining a safe environment.

The board is also considering having youth static competitions. The board will reconvene Aug. 4 to gather more information.

Livestock events begin Thursday, Sept. 3 and continue for three weekends, ending Sunday, Sept. 20. Event rules will be modified.

Competitions include:

Grand Drive: FFA and 4-H youth from across the state compete to be the best of the best in this premier Kansas livestock competition. The Grand Drive is Sept. 11-13 and features the market beef, sheep, swine and goat shows. These shows are closed to outside spectators but can be viewed on Walton Webcasting. The event is sponsored by Midwest Ford and other great partnerships..

Deadline to enter the Grand Drive is July 15.

Champion Livestock Show: The Kansas State Fair is partnering with the Special Olympics Kansas to introduce a new event: the Champion Livestock Show. The competition takes place at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 11.

Ten athletes will be selected by the Special Olympics and paired with 4-H or FFA members to show a meat goat. The athletes will have time to work with their mentor and animal the morning of the event. Open Range Trailer Sales and Services and Cimarron Trailers is the event sponsor. Key Apparel will provide T-shirts for participating competitors and mentor exhibitors. This show is closed to outside spectators but can be viewed on Walton Webcasting.

Mustang Days: Youth train untamed yearlings in the Mustang Beginnings Youth Challenge. They work to gentle the Bureau of Land Management wild horses over the summer then demonstrate their training skills. The event is Sept. 12-13.

Supreme Drive: The Supreme Drive recognizes the best bull and female of each breed in the open beef shows. The event is Sept. 19.

4-H Horse Show: This annual event will occur Sept. 17-20.

Many of these events will happen this year thanks to the Fair’s great partnership with 4-H and FFA and these organizations’ staff and volunteers. This includes the Fair’s Grand Drive event.

All shows will be closed to the public to help create a safe event. Entry deadline is July 15 for the 4-H/FFA Grand Drive and Aug. 15 for all open livestock shows.

Details, including rules and the full schedule of livestock events, is available at https://bit.ly/2020KSFLivestock. For more information, contact the Competitions Department at jenn.galloway@ks.gov or kerry.toews@ks.gov or call 620-669-3600.