Opening Day events at the Illinois State Fair were canceled Thursday due to "inclement weather," the Illinois Department of Agriculture announced.
Illinois officials said the cancelations were prompted by severe weather advisories in the area Thursday, as Sangamon County saw major thunderstorms.
As part of the kick off of the Illinois State Fair, the annual Twilight Parade, the Sammy Hager and The Circle Concert were set to take place Thursday evening.
The state fair is expected to run through Aug. 22 in Springfield.
This year, the Illinois State Fair will require masks indoors and at concerts for all attendees regardless of vaccination status, the fair has announced.
Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours before will be required to enter the Grandstand Track for any concerts, the fair said.
The state fair is held each year in Sangamon County, which is currently seeing high community transmission of the virus, triggering a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that everyone should wear masks indoors, regardless of vaccination status.
The fair said it was implementing the new policies in alignment with guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois Department of Agriculture as the more transmissible delta variant continues to cause cases and other metrics to surge statewide.
“As the Delta variant circulates in Illinois and across the country, we want to remind people about what they can do to stay safe,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. “Vaccination is your best protection against COVID-19 and its variants. Masking, distancing, testing, and washing your hands are also important tools to help slow the spread of these viruses.”
Fairgoers who are unvaccinated are also encouraged to wear masks at all times while attending the event and those experiencing symptoms should not attend, officials said.
Masks are also encouraged for participants and attendees of the Twilight Parade.
There will be various locations around the fairgrounds where masks will be provided and IDPH will have six sites attendees can get vaccinated.
Those vaccination sites will be located in the Illinois Building, North Side of Happy Hollow Entrance, Brian Raney Avenue, Avenue of Flags, 4H Lane and the Livestock Center.
All carnival workers, vendors and concessionaires will also be required to wear masks.