BOSTON (AP) — The 2020 Big E, a multistate fair in Massachusetts that drew more than 1.6 million visitors last year, has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, organizers announced Monday.

The event was scheduled for Sept. 18 through Oct. 4 in West Springfield.

"For the safety of our fairgoers, staff, vendors, entertainers, exhibitors, sponsors, suppliers and the broader community, we have made the decision to cancel the 2020 Big E," trustees of the Eastern States Exposition, the nonprofit that organizes the event, said in a statement. "Please know that this decision was not made lightly. In fact, it was one of the hardest decisions we, as an organization, have had to make in modern times."

The fair was founded in 1916 and was put on hold during both World Wars.

Organizers looked at every possible way to hold the fair this year.

"Despite exploring all our options and planning extensively, we realized that The Big E experience that everyone has come to know and love would not be the same," the statement said.

The event features exhibitions that highlight all six New England states, as well as nationally known musical acts, parades, fair rides and other entertainment.

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