Earlier this month, the Indiana State Fair announced that North American Midway Entertainment had rented the Indiana State Fairgrounds to put on a five week carnival. The Fairgrounds Fun Park was set to feature more than 50 carnival rides, popular midway games, favorite fair foods and outdoor shows. Today it was announced during Governor Holcomb’s daily COVID announcements, the Fairgrounds Fun Park has been canceled due to an increase in COVID-19 cases
North American Midway Entertainment vowed to have the pandemic front of mind by employing a full-time onsite COVID Customer and Employee Safety Director who would ensure all components of its stringent program are followed. Additional protocols would include: employee handwashing and equipment disinfecting; a series of hand sanitizing stations throughout the Park; contactless payment options; plexiglass shields to protect food; and additional sanitizing wipe downs of rides and games.
The Fairgrounds Fun Park was not meet with open arms by many members of the community.
4-H families began expressing their frustration with the event. With the cancelation of the 2020 Indiana State Fair and directives put forth by Purdue, each child exhibiting an animal has been given permission to bring along up to three family members to assist with the animals and attend the modified livestock show. With these strict guidelines for attendance on the property of the Indiana State Fairgrounds, families were angered by the announcement of a carnival or fair-like atmosphere that would be taking place right outside the doors.
Local families began sharing frustration with the event that kicks off at the top of the school year, an already precarious situation that has left families guessing and fearful for the past 5 months.
Indianapolis mom, Jody Madeira created a change.org petition to ask the Indiana State Fairgrounds to cancel the contract with North American Midway.
On Wednesday, July 1st, during Governor Holcomb’s weekly update, Tom Davies from Associated Press asked Governor Holcomb how he felt about the Indy 500 moving forward with more than 150,000 people in attendance and the Indiana State Fairgrounds hosting a month long carnival, “Don’t those type of events run the risk of being super spreaders for the virus?”
Governor Holcomb spoke with great accolades for how IMS has handled their decision making this season. He then passed the second part of the question to Dr. Box. who said, “We are still in discussions about that and I’ll be talking to the CEO of the State Fairgrounds as to what the plans are out there. Hopefully have an update next week.”
On this same day, Indiana 811 began responding to social media comments with this statement, “Out of an abundance of caution, Indiana 811 will no longer sponsor the Fairgrounds Fun Park, as its health and safety protocols did not meet the high standards that we, as a public safety organization, expected and requested.” However, no official statement was made on their own page or that of the State Fairgrounds.
On July 8th, it was announced that the Fairgrounds Fun Park event was canceled.
Following the recent elevation of COVID-19 cases in Indiana and with guidance from state public health officials, the planned Fairgrounds Fun Park has been canceled. The event had been planned to take place from July 31 to September 7 and had included a thorough plan for sanitation and social distancing, but is being canceled out of an abundance of caution.
“I am pleased that the 4-H events will continue at the State Fairgrounds and support this decision to protect the health and safety of Hoosiers during this unprecedented time,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, MD, FACOG.
“While we are saddened that our event can not take place, we understand the current situation and will always put public health and safety as our number one priority,” said Danny Huston, North American Midway Entertainment CEO.