If the annual Independence Day celebration in Fair Park happens this July it will look different than in years past with the State Fair of Texas confirming Friday they will not open the Midway over the holiday weekend.
State Fair of Texas organizers told NBC 5 they notified staff that the Midway would remain closed over the Fourth of July.
“We’re doing that so that our team can fully focus on the scenarios surrounding this year’s State Fair of Texas in hopes that we will still be able to open the fair,” said Karissa Condoianis, senior vice president of public relations for the State Fair of Texas. “At this time, we are not planning to operate the Midway on July Fourth."
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The State Fair of Texas typically opens the Midway to visitors on July Fourth for live music, amusement rides, games and concessions. A viewing area is also opened for people to watch the fireworks show.
In addition to the pyrotechnics display, Fair Park offers other activities outside of the Midway including the Children’s Aquarium, Texas Discovery Gardens, African American Museum and the Hall of State. The Midway, however, is typically the largest attraction outside of the fireworks.
Organizers Fair Park First and Spectra said they are considering their options.
“We’re exploring different options with our partners for Fair Park Fourth. Once we have more details, we’ll make an announcement," said spokesperson Julian Bowman, of Spectra.
Condoianis said they consider the Fourth of July celebration a small ‘taste’ of the State Fair of Texas before the main event opens in the fall and that deciding to cancel this summer was, "a very difficult decision, but it’s hard to continue to plan for that [state fair] being not too far away and we felt it was the right call to make."
The Midway event around Independence Day is also a fundraiser for the State Fair of Texas’ Big Tex Scholarship Program.
“We do run with a very lean full-time team and we feel that their focus should be on the larger stat fair event which does serve as our largest fundraiser of the year,” she said.
About $1.24 million in scholarships have already been awarded to students.
Condoianis says she is not able to say when the State Fair of Texas will announce whether the fair will proceed but says the physical setup on the fairgrounds begins August 1, so a decision will need to be made by then.
Spectra, one of the event organizers, is a subsidiary of Comcast Spectacor, which is also owned by NBC 5 and NBCUniversal's parent company Comcast.