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Santa Barbara County Fair canceled by directors
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Santa Barbara County Fair canceled by directors

43020 Ayala pig 01.jpg

Jennifer Ayala, a senior at Lompoc High School, cares for her pig named Praise that she planned to sell during this summer's Santa Barbara County Fair. 

The 2020 Santa Barbara County Fair was canceled Tuesday by the Santa Maria Fairpark board of directors, marking the first time the event will not take place since World War II, a Fairpark spokesman said.

Fairpark board and staff members have been monitoring state and local health directives and making adjustments to event programming in hopes the event would take place.

But after carefully weighing the situation, directors decided the health and safety of patrons, staff and volunteers were the No. 1 priority, the spokesman said.

“The board of directors and staff recognize the significance of the economic impact this cancellation has on the community at large and on sponsors, industry partners, exhibitors, patrons and the Fairpark itself, and waited as long as possible to make this devastating decision,” said Richard Persons, chief executive officer of the Fairpark.

The board noted nearly 60% of the Fairpark’s annual budget is derived from the Santa Barbara County Fair, and cancelling the event jeopardizes the viability of the Fairpark operation.

However, the board has formulated a refund policy for vendors, exhibitors and sponsors that the staff will begin implementing.

Plans also will soon be announced for a virtual livestock auction to support 4-H and FFA exhibitors who have been raising animals to sell at the fair.

Hoping large gatherings will be permitted later this year, the staff is continuing to plan for fall events, including the West Coast Kustoms Cruisin’ Nationals scheduled for Oct. 2 to 4, the Santa Maria Fall Fest set for Oct. 23 to 26 and dozens of smaller gatherings.

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County Reporter/Associate Editor

Lee Central Coast Newspapers associate editor Mike Hodgson covers Santa Barbara County government and events and issues in Santa Ynez Valley. Follow him on Twitter @MHodgsonSYVNews.

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