Weber County Fair Finishes in the Red

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OGDEN, Utah (AP) -- Expenses for this year's Weber County Fair were almost double the revenue generated.

Preliminary budget totals show the Aug. 10-14 fair had expenses totaling $445,700, while revenue, from vendor fees and ticket sales to the demolition derby, rodeo and concerts, came to $242,500.

Fair Director Jan Wilson said the county anticipates losing money on the fair.

County commissioners figured a $106,100 fair subsidy into the county's 2005 general budget. In 2004, the county contributed nearly $122,600 to the fair, plus $84,000 for fair employees' salaries.

County Commissioner Ken Bischoff said the commission considers the fair a public service, not a moneymaking venture.

"There are some dollars you spend simply because it benefits the community," Bischoff said. "Families, youth, high schoolers -- it brings everyone together, and that's how it is justified in my mind."

This year's Salt Lake County Fair had a deficit of nearly $58,000, said Corey Bullock, director of that fair. Salaries for fair employees cost an additional $46,700.

Bullock said most counties subsidize their fairs, and Weber County Fair's deficit did not seem unreasonable for its size. The Weber County Fair is the largest in the state.

Box Elder County's fair is expected to break even or earn a profit this year, said the county's recorder/clerk, LuAnn Adams. The fair's final earnings have not yet been calculated.

Adams said the fair is centered on agriculture and does not offer many high-priced attractions.

"We're very traditional," Adams said. "We have a rodeo, we have a bandstand, but we don't bring in big-name performers because they can get expensive."

Admission to the Weber County Fair was free this year and likely will be free again next year, Bischoff said.


Information from: Standard-Examiner,

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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