The East Texas State Fair in Tyler is set to return this month for the first time since 2019.

The 105th edition of the fair is set for Sept. 24 to Oct. 3 at the Rose Complex after this past year’s event was canceled due to COVID-19. The absence of this past year’s fair left an estimated economic loss of about $10 million for the city of Tyler and Smith County. Despite changes because of construction, fair organizers said they expect this year’s event to be a success.

East Texas State Fair President John Sykes said organizers are determined to pull off a fair this year in spite of construction and demolition happening near the fairgrounds.

“It’s exciting to be able to pull minds together and study and strategize, figure out a way to make it as good — if not better — than it has been before without the use of Harvey Convention Center,” Sykes said.

Harvey Convention Center and a large portion of the parking lot typically used for the fair will be unavailable this year, but fair organizers said they are working to provide the same level of entertainment as in past years.

All who choose to attend are encouraged to consider their own risk to COVID-19 exposure. Fairgoers are encouraged to wear masks, to use social distancing and to wash their hands regularly.

Through a partnership with UT Health East Texas, the fair will provide numerous hand-sanitizing and hand-washing stations on the fairgrounds.

After last year’s cancellation and with current ticket sales, fair organizers said they are expecting a big turnout.

“If we’re anything like fairs across the country, it could be a record-setter,” Sykes said. “All other fairs are bringing in tremendous numbers.”

Sykes said people are ready to get out and have some fun, and he said there is no better place to do that than at the fair.

Registration is open for contest participants and exhibitors. Tickets for the general public are on sale at etstatefair.com.

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