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An exhibitor smiled as she talked with a World Dairy Expo representative during a breed show on Oct. 1, 2019.

For the first time in its 53-year history, World Dairy Expo has been canceled.

World Dairy Expo 2020 was set to take place at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison Sept. 29-Oct. 3. The annual event welcomed more than 62,000 attendees from nearly 100 countries in 2019.

The World Dairy Expo Executive Committee announced the cancellation June 4. According to a news release, the Executive Committee reached the decision based on the public health orders and restrictions related to COVID-19, in place and issued by Public Health Madison and Dane County.

“Our collective heart is heavy as we share with you that World Dairy Expo 2020 has been canceled,” WDE general manager Scott Bentley said. “We know how much this hurts; we feel it, too. Please know other options were explored and considered by the World Dairy Expo Executive Committee and staff.”

The Alliant Energy Center, home to World Dairy Expo, is a county-owned facility that falls under the jurisdiction of Emergency Order No. 3 and Forward Dane, the phased reopening plan for Dane County. Public health officials predict Dane County may be in the third phase of the plan when World Dairy Expo is set to occur. This phase includes a limit of 250 people at outdoor events, eliminating any possibility that World Dairy Expo, as people know it today, can take place.

“Unwaveringly, we recognize our responsibility is to maintain the health of our community and the safety of all of you as exhibitors, attendees and volunteers and to adhere to the orders dictated by Dane County and the national guidelines from the CDC as they relate to COVID-19,” Bentley said.

More information, a complete statement from World Dairy Expo, and answers to frequently asked questions regarding the decision to cancel World Dairy Expo 2020 can be found at worlddairyexpo.com.

The 2021 World Dairy Expo is planned for Sept. 28-Oct. 2.