SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The 2021 California State Fair is being postponed again as Cal Expo remains a COVID-19 vaccination center.
it will be another summer without one of Sacramento’s favorite events.READ MORE: Sacramento SPCA Celebrating Opening Of New Animal Hospital
On Wednesday, fair organizers announced that Cal Expo’s extension of vaccination programs through September means that the fair will be postponed.
“I go with my niece and nephew every year,” Patrice Coleman said. “It’s disappointing, but for me, it’s kind of understandable.”
Organizers were hopeful, however, that some type of fair could possibly take place later in the year.
“There is definitely a light at the end of the tunnel, and I am proud that Cal Expo has been able to play such an important role during this difficult time,” said Rick Pickering, CEO of Cal Expo, in a statement.
A slimmed-down version of the fair is one of the possibilities that will be discussed for later in the year, Cal Expo officials said.
Throughout the pandemic, Cal Expo has been used as a testing hub and later as a mass vaccination location. Tens of thousands of people got tested at the Cal Expo site, officials say.
Thousands of people pass through every day for their vaccination.READ MORE: Call Kurtis: Lincoln Couple Fined $350 For Car They Sold 5 Years Ago
“We’ve vaccinated upwards of a quarter-million people,” Pickering said.
It’s helping the Sacramento region reopen, but leaves Cal Expo with no way to make the money they need to function.
Pickering said he expects a resurgence in people seeking vaccines, especially now that teenagers are eligible. He said keeping vaccines at Cal Expo could be key to reducing COVID-19 capacity limits which would be a tourism boost for everyone.
“When we can get the population vaccinated, all of the other event facilities in the region will benefit from that,” Pickering said.
But it comes at a cost. Cal Expo already faces significant financial hardship, even after getting a one-time $1.5 million cash infusion from the state earlier this year.
Cal Expo makes no profit from hosting these vaccination sites run by the county and Kaiser. About 70 percent of their revenue depends on having a robust state fair.
“We’re sacrificing our own personal finances but we’re doing the right thing in getting people vaccinated,” Pickering said.
No California State Fair took place last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.MORE NEWS: Newsom Wants To Pay All Back Rent Owed By Low-Income Californians Using Pandemic Relief Funds
Officials say Cal Expo, on average, generates more than $300 million a year into the local economy – with the fair being a large part of that money.