While the state fair is canceled, Maryland officials said an exception is being made for one part of the event.

TIMONIUM, MD — The Maryland State Fair will not go on this year. Organizers announced the decision Wednesday afternoon, around three weeks before the annual event was set to go on.

More than 500,000 people annually attend the fair, which this year was supposed to run from Aug. 27 to Sept. 7.

"Today, it is with heavy hearts that the Board of Directors, management and staff of the Maryland State Fair & Agricultural Society Inc. announce the decision to cancel the 139th Maryland State Fair," Maryland State Fair Board Chairman Gerry L. Brewster said in a statement.

The only other time the fair has been canceled was during World War II when the U.S. Army was using the property, according to organizers.

News of the cancellation comes five months after the state's first coronavirus cases were reported and a week after Gov. Larry Hogan said 21 percent of people who contracted the virus reported participating in outdoor events. As of Wednesday, state health data showed more than 92,000 Marylanders have contracted the infection since March.

"We have diligently tracked information, trends and options for dealing with these unprecedented public health issues," Maryland State Fair General Manager Andy Cashman said in a statement. "This decision was not made lightly." Read more at Patch