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Lay-offs at Santa Maria Fairpark, Strawberry Festival canceled due to outbreak

All April events at the Fairpark are off
Posted at 11:38 AM, Mar 20, 2020

The Santa Maria Fairpark will not host any events in April due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 37th District Agricultural Association called an emergency meeting of its board to directors in which they decided to cancel all April events at the Santa Maria Fairpark.

The move means the Santa Maria Valley Strawberry Festival, scheduled for April 24-26, will not happen.

The CEO of the Fairpark, Richard Persons, says the impacts of the virus have been particularly difficult for his staff.

“We’ve been trying to balance personal safety for staff members with continuing to provide service to the community," Persons said in a press release. "It’s pretty devastating to cancel the Strawberry Festival, which so many thousands of people love."

Persons said he is heartbroken over not being able to provide work for the Fairpark's many part-time staff members until the ban on large gatherings is lifted.

About 40 Fairpark employees have been laid off as a result of the outbreak's economic consequences.

Fairpark officials say they are planning to hold a substitute event for the Strawberry Festival sometime this fall, perhaps in October.

Meanwhile, planning for events in May and June as well as preparations for the Santa Barbara County Fair from July 15-19 are ongoing.