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Wisconsin State Fair has been canceled

For the first time since World War II, the Wisconsin State Fair has been canceled. The State Fair announced the news Thursday morning in a series of tweets, citing safety concerns and warnings against mass gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision had been foreshadowed earlier this week when the State Fair's board of directors voted to give chairman John Yingling the power to cancel the event and others scheduled at State Fair Park. The fair had been scheduled for Aug. 6-16.

"The Wisconsin State Fair is so much more than just a fair, it is tradition, it is celebration, it is the showcase of everything we are so proud of in Wisconsin," the event wrote in a series of tweets. "This is why our hearts are heavy as we bring you this news. "

"For the safety of our fairgoers, staff, vendors, entertainers, exhibitors, sponsors, suppliers and the broader community, the 2020 Wisconsin State Fair has been canceled," the tweets read. "Several agencies continue to offer strict guidelines advising against mass gatherings, and as the largest event in the State of Wisconsin this guidance weighed heavily in this decision."

"Under these guidelines we could not create the welcoming, safe, educational and enjoyable experience that you have come to know and love," the festival wrote.

The Wisconsin State Fair has been canceled only five times since it was founded in 1851, three of them during the Civil War.