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London, Ont.’s 2020 Western Fair cancelled due to coronavirus

This year's festivities were set to take place from Sept. 11 to 20.
This year's festivities were set to take place from Sept. 11 to 20. 980 CFPL

The Western Fair District will not kick off autumn with a big fair this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Western Fair Association’s board of governors and management team announced the cancellation of the 145th Western Fair on Thursday through a statement.

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This year’s festivities were set to take place from Sept. 11 to 20.

COVID-19 concerns and restrictions on mass gatherings remain in place for the foreseeable future. The Western Fair is a large event that welcomes thousands of visitors daily… as well as employing hundreds of staff and volunteers,” the statement read.

“Not since World War (II) has the Western Fair ceased its operation.”

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London Mayor Ed Holder vowed the fair will return “better than ever” next year.

“During its 152 year history, the Fair has survived World Wars, economic catastrophes, and even pandemics,” Holder said in a statement.

“I have no doubt it will also outlast COVID-19, and return better than ever before in 2021.”

The statement says the team at Western Fair District is keeping the fair’s spirit alive by working on a Virtual Western Fair.

The virtual fair consists of online competitions, summer fun contests, prizes, fair food offerings, entertainment and agriculture education.

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Greg Blanchard, the director of marketing and communications with the Western Fair District told 980 CFPL Thursday “… some tears were shed around Western Fair when it was finally decided.”

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“We have people at our association who have been involved with the fair for decades, so it’s like a baby to them,” said Blanchard.

“It’s a sad day, but we have to realize that it’s the right decision for the safety of our community.”