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A crowd gathers around a cultivator at the 2018 Ag Progress Days.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State's 2020 Ag Progress Days exposition, which was scheduled for Aug. 11-13, has been canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, organizers in the College of Agricultural Sciences announced.

Jesse Darlington, the manager of Ag Progress Days, said the decision is consistent with the cancellation of other local events this summer, including the massive Centre County Grange Fair, and the governor's order prohibiting gatherings of more than 250 people.

"Although many areas of the state and country are beginning to reopen after the onset of COVID-19, the prospect of inviting up to 50,000 people — who come from all over Pennsylvania and even from out of state — was too much of a risk given how easily this virus spreads," Darlington said. "With the uncertainty of what the situation will look like in August, we don't want to encourage the development of a coronavirus 'hot spot' that could lead to further restrictions on businesses and schools here and elsewhere."

Darlington said the decision was made now to help commercial exhibitors avoid or minimize the expenses that they might have incurred in planning to exhibit at the event. He said commercial exhibitors that already have paid registration fees will have the option of a full refund or to have their fees applied to their attendance at next year's show, which is scheduled for Aug. 10-12, 2021.

Organizers are exploring ways to conduct a virtual Ag Progress Days.

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