The 2020 iteration of the Lee Regional Fair has been canceled.

That’s according to a press release from the Sanford Lions Club, which hosts the fair each year. The announcement comes just a few days after organizers of the North Carolina State Fair announced it would not be held this year.

“The safety of our patrons, participants and community is the highest priority in producing the annual award-winning fair. After Governor Cooper’s directives regarding mass gatherings the Lee Regional Fair committee, who began planning last November, determined it not practical to modify the fair to meet health guidelines. With an abundance of hope, planning continued up until just recently,” reads the press release.

Organizers addressed the ripple effect the decision will have on Sanford and Lee County. Each year the fair provides financial resources for fair prizes and awards, scholarships, the North Carolina Lions Foundation, the Boys and Girls Home, Helping Hands, Christians United Outreach Center, the Salvation Army, Sight Matching, Vision Van screening, Lee County Extension Office and more, including upkeep of the fairgrounds.

“The impact of the fair’s cancellation will be felt far beyond the loss of our annual celebration,” said Fair Manager Bob Nelson. “We are heartbroken for our patrons (particularly, Moen and Pilgrim’s Pride, who use the venue to host their family appreciation day), vendors, family farms, volunteers, competitors and exhibitors, community outreach groups and contract laborers who rely on the income and exposure the Lee Regional Fair brings.”

The 2021 Lee Regional Fair is scheduled for September 14 to September 19, 2021.

“We look forward to brighter, better days ahead when we can gather again to celebrate all that is exceptional about the Lee Regional Fair,” Nelson said. “Until then, stay safe, be well and support each other. We’ll miss you.”