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FAQs

The 2020 North Idaho State Fair has been cancelled


All tickets will be refunded. For information on ticket refunds, click here.

Visit our youtube for a personal message on what lead to this decision.

Why will North Idaho State Fair not be held this year?

Since the beginning of April, the North Idaho State Fair Staff have been meeting regularly with local officials to discuss and analyze all facets of the North Idaho State Fair and optimistically plan for a 2020 Fair in the hopes it could happen this year.

Our goal in each discussion has been to work through modifications for 2020 that address our needs of:

  • Delivering the best fair experience within the current environment while being financially responsible
  • Maintaining the health and safety of our community
  • Maintaining the integrity of the North Idaho State Fair experience

North Idaho State Fair is the largest event in North Idaho drawing 97,000 people to the Kootenai County Fairgrounds over 5 days at the end August. From concerts to competitions to the carnival, gathering and crowds are part of the experience we all have come to love. The North Idaho State Fair Staff and Board have been closely monitoring COVID-19 data from local, state and federal health officials. With Idaho’s decision to remain in Phase 4 on June 25 and heightened health concerns within our county increases, safety recommendations did as well. The North Idaho State Fair entered more lengthy discussion about the ability to incorporate all the safety recommendations into the fair experience, but ultimately determined, that social distancing recommendations and the financial impact to incorporate those impeded the ability to host the North Idaho State Fair this summer.

Why was the Fair not postponed instead?

North Idaho State Fair is comprised of thousands of exhibitors and part-time employees, hundreds of businesses and volunteers, and dozens of entertainers. There are many moving pieces that must align over the same dates to produce the fair. Unfortunately, postponing a large event like the Fair, with many types of routing and scheduling needs, is not a viable option.

It’s still 60 days away - why was the decision made now and not later?

North Idaho State Fair is large in scope with typical planning cycles year-round. It requires significant planning and development time from many different departments of the fair including competitive exhibits, food concessionaires, vendors, sponsors, carnival providers, entertainers, and suppliers. Time is required to produce a successful fair and this requires a decision now.

While we are not sure what August will look like, we do know that we must make decisions based on what we know today and not what we hope the world will look like in August. The timeliness of this decision will ensure the viability of North Idaho State Fair and Kootenai County Fairgrounds for years to come.

Did you consider implementing mask requirements, temperature checks or instituting social distancing guidelines?

For the last few months our staff has explored countless options to modify the North Idaho State Fair to account for new health and safety guidelines and restrictions. After discussions and modeling, North Idaho State Fair felt the requirements extremely diminish the overall experience of the fair and create potential conflicts and financial risk, which could impact the viability of future fairs. Here are some of the options considered and potential impacts these changes would have made:

  • Socially distancing at all rodeos, concert, demo derby, entertainment features, bleacher areas and 4-H show rings. The required reduction of people to the Grandstand events, would diminish the experience and the fiscal viability of the fair. Certain acts would have to be canceled due to tour cancellations and postponements on their routes. Another scenario was developed that included a cancellation of all of the Grandstand events.
  • Face masks worn by all employees and in some scenarios all patrons. The hot August heat makes this scenario hard to implement.
  • A reduction of ½ the carnival rides and the deletion of all carnival games. Every seat on every ride being cleaned immediately after use, which in some cases like the Ferris Wheel would cause constant stopping and starting of the attraction rather than a smooth riding experience and longer lines for guests waiting to enjoy those rides. There was also risk on getting the whole work force to Idaho to work the carnival.
  • Spacing out food lines to six feet in between each customer, and those lines would create traffic jams that at peak hours are already difficult to navigate.
  • Reducing admission entrances to limit daily attendance or admission to certain areas of the fair, which would cause lines at admission entrances and other areas to become longer and turning away fair goers who have waited in line all day when the daily admission limit has been reached.
  • Implement temperature checks at the gates for employees and patrons. Our exterior gates at the end of August provide a harsh environment for accurate temperature checks. People could easily be hot from biking or walking in hot temperatures which could create inaccuracies and conflict/congestion at the gates.
  • Implementing building capacity restrictions for shopping, viewing exhibits, one-way traffic flow in all animal barns, and blocked seating on bleacher at stages. These capacity restrictions and bleacher spacing needs would need to be monitored and policed.
  • Hands-on activities for families like Farm Park and Uncle Curly’s Funtastic Kidz Zone would need to be canceled for 2020 because of the amount of touching in those areas.
  • An increase in sanitation frequency would need to be implemented for all highly touched surfaces and hand sanitizing stations would need to be placed throughout the grounds.
  • Many dozens to hundreds of long-standing employees who work various departments of the fair had expressed they wouldn’t be able to work this year. Their knowledge-base and skill set would be difficult to replace within the planning time frame.

How can I still support the Fair vendors?

We understand that our vendors will be affected by the decision to cancel the North Idaho State Fair. We are looking into options for our fair goers to support their businesses. Follow us on social media to be the first to know when details are available.

What will happen to the Open Class Competitive Exhibits?

We understand that our open class exhibitors have been looking forward to entering competitions all year. We know that you will be affected by the decision to cancel the North Idaho State Fair. We encourage you to continue making, creating and growing. The rules for 2021 will be adjusted to include anything made in 2020 and 2021. The theme will be “There’s Magic in the Fair”. Stay tuned for more information in Spring of 2021.

What will happen to the 4-H Competitions and Sales?

The North Idaho State Fair is planning to hold 4-H shows and their sales in 2020. The Kootenai/Shoshone County 4-H Office and the Livestock Sale Committee have been holding regular meetings to create alternate plans. Details will be released directly to participants by 4-H and North Idaho State Fair in the coming days.

Will there be a 2021 North Idaho State Fair?

The 2021 North Idaho State Fair is scheduled for August 25 – 29, 2021. We hope to surprise you with the biggest fair our area has ever seen with even more exciting events and entertainment the whole family can enjoy in 2021.

General Fair Information

What are the dates of the fair?


How much is gate admission?


Are there special themes or daily discounts?


Do you accept checks and/or credit cards at the gates?


Are there ATM machines?


Are pets allowed at the fair?


What is the Fair's Service Dog Policy?


How much is parking and what do I do if the parking lot is full?


Can I get my ticket refunded?

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Other Useful Information

The following items are prohibited on the Fairgrounds premises:

WEAPONS (except those permitted by law), BICYCLES, SKATEBOARDS, INLINE SKATES, ROLLER SKATES, MOTORIZED VEHICLES AND PETS.

Backpacks and bags are subject to search.

ABSOLUTELY NO OUTSIDE ALCOHOL.

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