Questions Most Asked Year-Round

Throughout the year, Nebraska State Fair receives hundreds of questions. Here are the most frequently asked questions. 


The Decision for the 2020 Nebraska State Fair

Why did you make this decision now?

The Nebraska State Fair Board voted to hold the 2020 Nebraska State Fair. We are 
excited to announce that we are waving gate fees for people that want to attend. 
We are making the decision now because preparing takes a lot of planning. We have 
narrowed down a minimum of 60 days for ordering materials and preparing the 
Fairgrounds. We took all the time we could to come to our decision to be sure that 
we had looked at every aspect, reviewed the most recent COVID-19 information and 
could be confident on putting on a high-quality event that would be financially 
responsible. 

What will the Nebraska State Fair look like?

The Fair will look noticeably different this year because of COVID-19. Due to the 
additional budget requirements to produce an event during a pandemic, it will be 
much smaller in size. There’s nothing more Nebraskan than soaking in the late 
summer sun, taking in some entertainment, and cheering on our friends and family 
during 4-H and FFA events. We are excited to announce that we are able to support 
our friends and family in FFA and 4-H. Those activities include:

 ▪ FFA and 4-H livestock competitions, static exhibits

▪ 4-H and FFA contests

 ▪ FFA and 4-H virtual showcases

▪ 4-H and FFA presentations  

Additionally, visitors can partake in Raising Nebraska, a variety of Nebraska Game and 
Parks activities. And, depending on our Phase progress, we have potential to include 
more concessions, amusement rides, motor sport activities, and taverns!

Who made this decision?

The Nebraska State Fair Board voted to hold the 2020 Nebraska State Fair. In April, 
the Nebraska State Fair Board Members established the COVID-19 Task Force. Over the past several months, members of the task force have been meeting with representatives from the Nebraska Governor’s office, Nebraska Department of Agriculture, Department of Health and Human Services, 4-H, FFA of Nebraska, Central District Health Department, and Mayor of Grand Island. With guidance from state and local leaders, we developed six scenarios; those were sifted to the recommended scenario presented to and discussed by the full Fair board.   


General Questions

When is the State Fair? How long is it?

This year, Nebraska State Fair will be held starting August 28 through Labor Day 
weekend. You can find all information on Nebraska State Fair on our website: 
www.stateFair.org 

What are the hours of operation at this year’s Fair?

Starting August 1, You can find additional information on when we are open and 
more here: https://www.stateFair.org/plan-your-visit/guest-information/hours 

Where is the Fair located?

Grand Island, Nebraska. You can find all the information on Nebraska State Fair on 
our website: https://stateFair.org/plan-your-visit/maps-directions 

How much is general admission? Can I purchase tickets at the Fair?

This year the fair is FREE! No gate admission will be charged in 2020. 

What food will be served at the fair?

We love good Fair food! There will be reduced number of concessions at the 
fairgrounds. Visit www.statefair.org in August for a full list of offerings.

Can my pet come to the Fair?

No – We only allow service animals to the Fairgrounds, along with competition animals.

Are there any bag or stroller restrictions?

There are no bag restrictions for gate admission but additional rules apply for concerts. There are no stroller restrictions. You can bring your own or rent one at the Fair. Click here for more information.

How can I volunteer for the Fair?

You can volunteer in multiple ways! All volunteer information can be found here

What is the box office phone number?

You can contact the box office at 308-382-1620.

Where can I find a Fair map?

You can find a Fairgrounds map here.

Are kids free at the rodeos?

No rodeos are currently planned for the 2020 Showcase of 4-H and FFA Livestock 
and Static exhibits. 

Where is lost & found located?

We are working to identify a location, so stay tuned. You can check in with our 
Volunteers at the outdoor information kiosks for more information. 

What are the hours of operation at this year’s Fair?

Starting August 1, You can find additional information on when we are open and 
more here: https://www.stateFair.org/plan-your-visit/guest-information/hours 


Directions/Parking/Lodging

How do I get to the State Fair?

We offer a full list of driving and parking directions conveniently listed on our 
website here: www.stateFair.org/plan-your-visit/maps-directions. ADA accessible 
parking is available at the Main Gate as well as Gates 6 and 8. 

Where do I park? Is parking free?

Stay tuned for parking information for the 2020 Showcase of 4-H and FFA Livestock 
and Static Exhibits

What’s the ADA parking situation?

o There is limited ADA parking available at the Fairgrounds.

 o There is limited handicapped/ADA accessible parking at the Fairgrounds.

 o You can find a Fairgrounds map on our website here: www.stateFair.org/plan-your
visit/maps-directions 

What kind of lodging is offered?

The State Fair offers on-site camping options call Jana Kuklis (308-385-3925) and local hotel recommendations on 
our website: www.stateFair.org/plan-your-visit/camping-lodging 


Activities

How much are carnival rides? Is there a wristband?

Hold on to your 2020 advanced sale passes that you have already purchased. More 
information is to come on August 1 for use or potential refund.

Hours of operation are TBD for the 2020 4-H and FFA Livestock and Static Showcase.

What competitions will there be this year?

Times and dates for the 2020 4-H and FFA Livestock and Static Showcase are still in 
development, so stay tuned.  

How can I become a vendor?

Vendor applications and information can be found here

Can I rent a room/space at the Fair?

Yes! Email contact@statefair.org for business gatherings at the Fair.

What kind of amenities are available at the Fair? (ATMs, Stroller Rentals, Concessions, etc.)

You can find all of our concessions, maps, hours and more general visitor information here.


Budget Impact

You are waving gate admission? How are you going to make money?

Yes, it will be free to get into the Nebraska State Fair. We made this decision because 
staffing gates can be expensive; last year we spent $92,917.00. We want people to 
come out and support our beloved 4-H and FFA, enjoy fair food, and, if you’re of age, 
to enjoy a beverage in a tavern. This year has been difficult, so we see this as an 
opportunity for our community to come together and enjoy a part of Nebraska history 
and culture.  

How much does it cost to put on the Nebraska State Fair?

On average, the Nebraska State Fair incurs $7 million in expenses. 

Where does the revenue come from during the Fair?

The Nebraska State Fair is funded through the Nebraska Lottery, the City of Grand 
Island, the Nebraska State Fair 1868 Foundation and Operations revenue.

Is the Fair financially stable enough to sustain the loss associated with reducing it to 50%?

No. Nebraska State Fair income is generated through gate admission tickets, and 
midway events. A 50 percent reduction in capacity still incurs 100 percent of expenses 
with half the revenue potential (and with health measures in place, those expenses 
will be greater this year.

How will COVID-19 impact the budget?

COVID-19 will have a significant impact on the budget. For this reason, the COVID-19 
Task Force has been working with state and local leaders to discuss safety measures, 
staffing needs, potential impacts on insurance, and how all of those items affect the 
budget. Six scenarios were developed and each one had a separate budget. 

Why not cancel the Fair then?

There is nothing more Nebraskan than the Nebraska State Fair. We hold the youth and 
families involved in 4-H and FFA near and dear to us, which is why we are working to 
hold events specific for our agricultural community in a way that is safe for our 
community. 4-H and FFA Youth have been working on and preparing their exhibits and 
livestock for months. The livestock and static exhibits CAN be produced in a safe 
manner in Phase II, Phase III, and especially in Phase IV. 

Is the Fair financially stable enough to sustain the loss associated with canceling the 2020 Fair?

If we cancel the Fair, yes. That would be the reason to cancel. Canceling the Fair 
would preserve the resources needed to ensure the Fair can continue for another 150 
years. 

Do you have any concept of what the economic impact of the cancellation will be on the businesses involved in the Fair and the community at large?

Yes, the Grand Island Chamber of Commerce estimates the State Fair economic 
impact to Grand Island and surrounding communities to be over $22 million. We are 
heartbroken that COVID-19 is further hurting income here at our most local 
communities. There’s nothing more Nebraskan than helping our neighbors and we 
encourage people to buy local to help our friends during this difficult time.

How can people support the vendors?

Our vendors are very important to us and we know the Fair is very important to their 
financial well-being. We will work closely with them to explore ways we can help 
promote their products on our website and we hope Nebraskans will support them 
there as well.


What Will Be Offered

What will be offered?

There’s nothing more Nebraskan than soaking in the experiences that the State Fair 
has to offer. We are saddened by the cancelation of the nationally known musicians and the parade. However, we are excited to announce that we are able to support our partner organizations, friends and family in FFA and 4-H. Those activities include:

 ▪ FFA and 4-H Livestock Competitions, Static Exhibits

▪ 4-H and FFA contests

 ▪ FFA and 4-H virtual showcases

▪ 4-H and FFA presentations  

Additionally, visitors can partake in Raising Nebraska, a variety of Nebraska Game and 
Parks activities. And, depending on our Phase progress, we have potential to include 
more concessions, amusement rides, motor sport activities, and taverns! 


COVID-19 Specific Question

Do we have to wear a mask?

At this time, we are highly recommending that all attendees, volunteers and staff 
wear a facial covering for the consideration of others. However, facial covering will 
not be required. We will provide facial coverings for staff and volunteers. 

Will the people working the Fair wear masks?

At this time, we are highly recommending that all attendees, volunteers and staff 
wear a facial covering for the consideration of others. However, facial coverings will 
not be required. 

Will there be temperature checks?

We ask that if people are feeling feverish to stay home. Because it will require 
additional staff, time and resources, taking the temperature of people before they 
enter the fairgrounds will not be feasible. Depending on our Phase requirements in 
August, we can temperature check Staff Teams daily during the Showcase of 4-H and 
FFA Livestock and Static exhibits

How many handwashing stations will there be?

The CDC recommends washing hands under running water, lathering with soap and 
scrubbing for at least 20 seconds and then rinsing under clean, running water. In 
addition to the excellent restroom facilities on the Fonner Park campus, the Fair will 
offer over 100 sanitizing handwashing stations.  

Will all restrooms be open? How often will they be cleaned?

We are prepared to spend an additional $30,000 to manage cleaning and sanitizing 
during the Fair. At the present moment, restrooms will be cleaned at minimum once 
every two hours and we will have full-time restroom attendants. We will adjust the 
frequency and number of attendants based on the size of crowds.

If an employee tests positive for COVID-19 during the Fair, will the Fair continue to go on

If an employee or volunteer tests positive for COVID-19 during the Fair, we will work 
through the proper COVID-19 tracing channels at the Nebraska Department of Health 
and Human Services.

How are you going to keep a safe social distance on rides and in lines?

If we can have rides, we have a mitigation report that has been prepared for the 
health department. Groups will be encouraged to keep 6’ distance between other 
groups in line and throughout foot paths. Each patron will receive a disinfectant wipe 
to sanitize any surfaces they touch. Additionally, the rides offered will only include 
those larger ones that offer proper distancing. Any carnival amusement that involves 
constant contact, like fun houses, will not be available.

How are you going to keep a safe social distance during the parade?

There are no realistic options for us to socially distance participants or spectators 
during a parade, so, unfortunately there will not be a parade. 

How are you going to keep a safe social distance during concerts?

Socially distancing at a large concert with a well-known musician is not feasible. 
Unfortunately, the large musical acts have been canceled. Many musicians share our 
same safety concerns – while they want to play for their fans, they know that it isn’t 
an option at this time. We look forward to welcoming talented musicians to the 2021 
Nebraska State Fair

Will there be additional staff members working to ensure people are keeping six feet apart?

Staff will be aware of the recommendations. We will remind people to be a Nebraska 
Nice by keeping six feet of distance with others while attending the Fair.  

How many people are typically allowed in the Fair? Will the number be the same?

People love attending the Nebraska State Fair and we welcome everyone. In 2013, we 
marked the largest crowd attendance of over 71,000 people in one day. We know this 
year will be vastly different because of COVID-19. Opening in Phase three enforces a 
maximum occupancy of 10,000 people. We are hopeful that Hall County will be in 
phase four when the Fair starts – meaning there are only 75 percent indoor and 100 
percent outdoor occupancy restrictions. However, we are considering zoning the 
fairgrounds into three areas, each with its own occupancy maximum, so we don’t 
exceed the occupancy during the reopening phase structure. 

Will there be a limit of people in certain areas of the fairground?

Because of COVID-19 reopening regulations, yes and if necessary, there will be a limit 
of people in certain areas. To support social distancing recommendations, we will 
zone the fairgrounds into three pods, each with its own occupancy maximum. Doing 
so helps ensure we don’t exceed the occupancy during the reopening phase structure

Will there be social distancing on shuttles to get to the Fairground?

We still hope to run as many open-air shuttles within the park as possible. However, 
we will not operate the bus shuttles from the outlying parking. We anticipate fewer 
visitors this year, so we think parking will be relaxed. Additionally, operating the 
busses is expensive. Last year, we spent over $200,000 to provide that service, a 
regular year, the Fair spends about $48,0000.00 so we see it as a necessary item to 
omit in 2020. 

Will campsites be available?

Yes, a limited number of campsites will be available. People do need to reserve 
camping space ahead of time. Call (308) 385-3925 for availability. 

Do you anticipate having any trouble getting volunteers to help with the Fair?

We know some of our invaluable volunteers will be hesitant to attend Nebraska State 
Fair, and we understand that this may not be the year for them to volunteer. For 
those that are working — we have protocols in place to ensure staff and volunteers 
have the recommended safety measures in place. That includes additional hand 
washing stations and face coverings, should someone want to wear one.  

Will the Fair be expected to space out crowds?

The Fair will look different this year. To support social distancing recommendations, 
we will zone the Fairgrounds into three areas each with its own occupancy maximum. 
Doing so helps ensure maintaining the occupancy during the reopening phase 
structure.

If there is a second wave, will the Fair be postponed before it begins?

Postponing isn’t an option. Due to other events in the surrounding area, other 
festivals and obligations, it is not feasible to move such a large event to another date.

Will the interactive education and attractions be open, and if so, how will you ensure the kid’s safety?

All hands-on guest activities will be significantly reduced this year. It is difficult to keep 
little hands off of play surfaces and then, of course, off their faces.  

How many people will be able to attend shows or concerts?

Socially distancing at a concert in Heartland Events Center is difficult. We made the 
decision to cancel all nationally known musicians and shows. Many performers and 
musicians share our same safety concerns. While they want to be with their fans, they 
know that it isn’t an option at this time. We look forward to welcoming talented 
musicians to the 2021 Nebraska State Fair.

If I already purchased a ticket, but I am feeling sick, can I get a refund

We encourage those that are not feeling well to stay home. While you are unable to 
use it during the 2020 year, we will honor the ticket for the 2021 Nebraska State Fair.

What are the procedures for the people handling food and drinks?

We will have an appropriate number of concessions available for the space and the 
number of visitors. Staff providing food and beverage services are required to follow 
the guidelines provided by the CDC.

If a vendor doesn’t feel safe attending, is it too late to change their mind?

All current 2020 Nebraska State Fair Space Rental Agreements are effectively 
cancelled. Vendors will re-apply for an outdoor location opportunity within the newly 
designed layout. We are working on the layout now so, stay tuned for future updates. 

How many vendors have you had sign up? Have any backed out for the year

We have roughly 300 vendors that signed up, pre-COVID-19, to attend this year’s Fair. 
Since then, roughly a dozen vendors have elected to not attend. We respect our 
partners decisions and will support them during this time.  

Will all play areas be open for children?

We all know children love the play areas. We also know kids touch many things and 
then put their hands in their mouths or on their faces. Because this is the quickest way 
to spread germs, we made the decision to not open play areas this year. 

Will hands-on activities/games remain?

Hands-on and interactive activities and games will not be present this year. 

Will frequently touched surfaces be cleaned throughout the day?

We will have additional staff on-site to clean surfaces multiple times during the day. In 
addition to the excellent restroom facilities on the Fonner Park Fairgrounds will be 
over 100 sanitizing stations and temporary handwashing stations. 

Will the hours be the same?

The schedule is tentative. Look for more confirmed times to be announced after 
August 1. 


Concert-Related Questions

Will we have concerts this year?

We are saddened that this year we will not have any nationally touring artists 
performing during the 2020 Nebraska State Fair. It is important to know that the 
artists and their bands are not ready to travel for this type of an event. We are excited 
to welcome local musicians who want to play for free at the Nebraska State Fair. 
People who want to be considered, can visit statefair.org, choose the Nebraska Talent 
page for more information 

Have the concerts already been booked?

Country music events for Jon Pardi on Sept. 3, Dustin Lynch on Sept. 4, and the dual 
show of Clay Walker and Clint Black on Sept. 6 are canceled. The Big Rock Summer 
Tour has canceled their shows for the summer and fall of 2020. This cancellation 
impacts the tour’s stop at Nebraska State Fair, scheduled for Sept. 5, 2020. These artists, Ratt, Skid Row and Quiet Riot, may tour separately. Visit their respective websites for more information.

I purchased a ticket to see the Big Rock Summer Tour and Country Musicians. Will those concerts still happen?

The Big Rock Summer Tour has canceled their shows for the summer and fall of 
2020. This cancellation impacts the tour’s stop at Nebraska State Fair, scheduled for 
Sept. 5, 2020. These artists, Ratt, Skid Row and Quiet Riot, may tour separately. Visit 
their respective websites for more information. Refunds have been applied to the 
credit card used to purchase the tickets. Country music refunds or rolling over of the 
tickets for 2021, will be happening as well. More information will be available soon.

Will the concerts be rescheduled?

We look forward to planning the 2021 year and welcoming well-known talented 
artists during that time. 

How can I get a refund for my concert ticket?

Individuals who purchased The Big Rock Summer Tour tickets should have already 
been refunded. Tickets were expected to be fully refunded in 7-10 days to the 
payment method used by the customer. Questions regarding refunds should be 
directed to Etix at www.etix.com. Refunds for the County Bundles and individual 
shows will occur in the next 7 – 10 days. 

How will having no concerts affect Nebraska State Fair?

State Fairs across the country host concerts primarily to attract people to the fairs 
themselves. Across the industry, concerts are not revenue producers because of the 
booking and production costs associated with popular entertainers. It’s the gate 
admissions, food and beverage, and merchandise sales that generate revenue. 

If there are still shows and parades, why won’t there be any concerts?

We know that lots of Nebraskans love the shows, parades and live entertainment that 
take place each year at the State Fair. Unfortunately, socially distancing at our indoor 
concert arena is not feasible in 2020. Unfortunately, shows with nationally touring 
musicians have been canceled. Many musicians share our same safety concerns – while they want to play for their fans, they know that it isn’t an option at this time.  We look forward to welcoming talented musicians to the 2021 Nebraska State Fair.

We have heard that the Nebraska State Fair is contracted for those concerts. Because the Governor has not declared a state of emergency, Force Majeure isn’t applicable. Is the Nebraska State Fair able to get out of those contracts and if so, how much wi

No, we are not financially responsible because we provided ample notification 
that the Fair was on hold. When the potential impact of COVID-19 became 
apparent, we reached out to concert vendors to let them know of the current 
situation. We will work independently with them to either plan for 2021 or 
another time. It is important to know that the artists and their bands are not 
ready to travel for this type of an event. 


Questions About the Midway

Will the Midway be open?

Nebraskans of all ages love the fun of amusement rides and we are working to offer a 
variety of fun activities including amusement rides, equine events, motor sports 
attractions, Kentucky Derby and Husker Football tailgate. Stay tuned to our social 
media channels because we will release more information as soon as we have it. 

If other parts of the Fair with large groups are open, why are there no concerts?

Nebraskans love an opportunity to come together to cheer on a parade and take in a 
live entertainment. We have zoned specific spaces on Fonner Park Fairgrounds so that 
we are able to stay within the 10,000-occupancy maximum. We are saddened by 
canceling the nationally known musical shows and the parade.


4-H and FFA Livestock and Competitive Exhibit Questions

How was it determined that 4-H and FFA were still allowed to be a part of the Fair, but nothing else

There is nothing more Nebraskan than celebrating our friends and family in the 
agriculture community. Last year, over 5,900 members brought 12,500 entries to showcase in 4-H or FFA events. We are excited to announce that we are able to support our friends and family in FFA and 4-H. Those activities include:  

▪ FFA and 4-H Livestock Competitions, Static Exhibits

▪ 4-H and FFA contests

 ▪ FFA and 4-H virtual showcases

▪ 4-H and FFA presentations 

Will social distancing be necessary in the livestock barns, and if so, how will it be accommodated?

Yes. We are limiting the number of stalls available for use. We have space to 
accommodate the same number of 4-H and FFA participants we historically host. By 
eliminating the Open Class competition, we will have capacity to safely space our 
participants and their animals

Will 4-H and FFA be offered virtually?

We are working with our friends at 4-H and FFA as they too navigate the process of 
virtual competition. As soon as we have more information, we will share it with the 
Nebraska State Fair community.

What if I am in 4-H and it is my last eligible year to compete?

We are excited to celebrate with you during your final year of 4-H. We hold our 
agricultural families near and dear to us, and this is a big reason we worked to give 
you the opportunity to compete in your final year. Good luck & tell us how it goes!