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Decision to postpone fair was hard

ESCANABA — After the recent announcement that the U.P. State Fair has been postponed until 2021, Delta County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Vickie Micheau provided additional details on the process of postponing the event.

Micheau said organizations involved with fair planning were hard at work on plans to hold the event safely before the fair was postponed.

“The U.P. State Fair Authority and Chamber of Commerce spent months working through options to develop a COVID-19 preparedness plan that would allow the 2020 fair to open,” she said.

The organizations were also working with public health officials, community leaders and fair partners until it became clear that the fair would have to be pushed back to 2021.

The U.P. State Fair Authority decided to postpone the fair on Tuesday, June 30, and an official announcement was released that evening. According to Micheau, vendors, sponsors, exhibitors and other fair partners were notified of the fair’s postponement immediately after the decision was made.

“Vendors have been very understanding and appreciate that their completed contracts and deposits are intact and that they do not have to take any further action to secure their involvement in the 2021 fair,” she said.

Jayson Promotions, the producer of grandstand events that were slated to take place during the 2020 U.P. State Fair, also understood the authority’s decision.

“They agree that while it is sad, postponing the fair was the right decision at this time. They are working with all the acts to update the current contracts with the dates of the 2021 U.P. State Fair,” Micheau said.

In June, it was announced that the grandstand entertainment lineup for 2020’s fair was set to include country musician Josh Turner, rock bands Hairball and Buckcherry and tribute bands Heart to Heartbreaker and Crazy Babies.

Micheau said refunds for pre-ordered tickets to grandstand events are being handled by presenting sponsor Island Resort and Casino.

“The Island Resort and Casino will automatically refund Gold Circle tickets to the form of original payment,” she said.

As the 2020 fair was technically postponed instead of canceled, Micheau said most of the planning for next year’s fair took place before 2019’s fair ended.

“Fair patrons can expect to see the same events and activities that were announced for the 2020 fair beginning Aug. 16, 2021,” she said.

The U.P. State Fairgrounds property was conveyed to Delta County by the State of Michigan on the condition a fair and other activities be held regularly on the land. Otherwise, the state would have the opportunity to reclaim the fairgrounds.

Micheau said any risk of the postponement causing problems in this regard is not currently a concern.

“There would be greater risk by holding the fair, which would be in direct conflict with Governor Whitmer’s Executive Orders,” she said.

In the wake of the fair’s postponement, a livestock expo is set to be held at the fairgrounds Aug. 17-22. The expo will be a modified version of the shows and auction that were planned for the 2020 fair.

Micheau said she is excited for the fair’s return next year.

“We are grateful for the tremendous support and encouragement we receive from everyone who makes (the) fair possible and look forward to a brighter, healthier time when we can reopen the gates of the U.P. State Fair,” Micheau said.

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