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On Thursday, March 25, the Arizona Exposition and State Fair Board unanimously decided to relocate the Arizona State Fair to a larger location for 2021 after 116 years.
The state fair, set for last fall, was cancelled due to the pandemic. The Gila River Indian Community (GRIC) offered to host the 2021 fair on the Wild Horse Pass Development Authority (WHPDA), larger than the State Fairgrounds in Phoenix.
In a letter to the board, GRIC stated, “WHPDA has the space and the know how to host and deliver a meaningful, safe and appropriately scaled outdoor event. It would be their honor to work with State and outside medical professionals to develop a plan to safely host the Arizona State Fair.”
GRIC Governor Stephen Roe said “Safety has been our number one priority during the pandemic and we are prepared to carry on this legacy for all of Arizona in the most supportive way possible.”
The GRIC offered to host a March fair; however, as the State works to finalize the date, it will likely be later this year, according to a release from Gov. Doug Ducey’s office.
Since last year, the State Fair has been a location for mass testing and vaccine distribution, by relocating temporarily, this would allow them to continue.
“While we are hopeful that vaccine distribution will mean a return to normality, this temporary location gives us the ability to plan and ensure the Fair goes on no matter what,” said Jonathan Lines, Chairman of the State Fair Board.
Ducey applauded the decision by the board.
“The Arizona State Fair is a beloved annual tradition for countless Arizona families,” said Governor Ducey. “This gracious offer by the Gila River Indian Community and today’s decision by the Arizona State Fair Board ensures that another year won’t pass without a State Fair.”