The Grand Concourse at the Iowa State Fair

The Grand Concourse at the Iowa State Fair, seen from the Skyglider in August 2018. (Photo by Kathie Obradovich/Iowa Capital Dispatch)

Gov. Kim Reynolds said Tuesday she will set up a call this week with the Iowa State Fair Board to discuss whether the 2020 Iowa State Fair will proceed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I know they’ve been trying to wait to see how Iowa responds to our continuing (efforts) to open up our economy,” Reynolds said at her news conference on Tuesday. “And so we’ll have an opportunity to visit with them this week and see if I can answer any questions they have and really listen to them and see what they’re considering as they move forward with making a decision.”

Reynolds is a member of the Iowa State Fair Board but said Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg is serving as her representative on the board. Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig is also on the board.

The Minnesota State Fair announced last week that it is canceling its 2020 state fair, originally scheduled for late August. The Wisconsin State Fair Board met Tuesday but did not make a decision. It is expected to announce plans by the end of the week.  State fairs in NebraskaKansas, Michigan and Indiana are moving ahead.

In canceling its fair, the Minnesota board considered the likelihood that social distancing would still be needed in August. “Can you see social distancing on a Park & Ride bus, or at the bandshell? One at a time on the Giant Slide? Can you imagine standing six feet apart in line for cookies? Me neither,” Minnesota State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer said in a statement.

The Iowa State Fair is currently scheduled for Aug. 13-23.  Reynolds announced last month that schools would be allowed to start classes before Aug. 23 this year.  Normally, districts are prohibited from starting the school year before the state fair is over.