PHOENIX - The Arizona State Fair will stay at the Arizona State Fairgrounds for the 2021 season, fair officials say.
A statement released says the necessary infrastructure wasn't able to be secured in time for the October date, so they had to return to the traditional site near downtown Phoenix.
Fair officials say this is related to supply chain problems caused by COVID-19. Manufacturers were unable to guarantee on-time delivery.
On March 25, officials with Governor Doug Ducey's Office originally announced that the Arizona State Fair would temporarily move to the Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park, located south of Ahwatukee and Chandler, near Gila River Hotels & Casinos' Wild Horse Pass location.
The Arizona State Fair Board made a unanimous decision to relocate the fair to a "new, larger and safer location" at Wild Horse Pass, according to a statement.
However, the Gila River Indian Community and the Arizona State Fair will continue to study the possibility of moving the fair to Wild Horse Pass in 2022, "in a manner that will be mutually beneficial for both parties," a statement read.
There will be no concerts at the fair this year, however, there will be tribute band performances at the Wallace and Ladmo stage.
Decision sparks concern for some people
The meeting on March 25 took some by surprise. A couple of people who lived in or had businesses in the surrounding neighborhoods showed up to ask questions.
"It seems like there’d be more publicity if they wanted to make a change of this magnitude," said Rob Brown, who owns a business near the current fairgrounds.
"If the fair moves permanently from the fairgrounds out to Wild Horse Pass, that’s a huge piece of land that will need developing, and a lot of historic buildings are in jeopardy," said Brent Kleinman, a resident of the Encanto-Palmcroft neighborhood in Phoenix.
In a statement, Phoenix City Councilmember Laura Pastor called the decision "sudden" and "non-transparent."
"Although a public notice was posted, I feel the intention was premediated and secretive. Ultimately, the public was not privy to any basis that supported this change. While the move is stated as 'temporary,' it has a greater impact on the surrounding area long term, and the State should’ve made the effort to communicate and coordinate this change with surrounding stakeholders," read the statement.
The Arizona State Fairgrounds, which is the traditional home of the Arizona State Fair, was established in 1905. Currently, Banner Health's website lists the Arizona State Fairgrounds as one of its COVID-19 vaccination sites.
Lines stressed that the vote on March 25 was for a temporary move, and preparations need to get underway to get the new space ready.
The Arizona State Fair in an aerial photo taken in 2019.
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