ERDA, Tooele County — The Tooele County Fair Board has voted unanimously to cancel this year's county fair, saying the county's financial crisis and lack of employees is to blame.
The vote came at the board's meeting Monday night. Fair board chair Mark McKendrick said he and the commissioners "feel terrible" about the decision, but that the fair cannot be held without the recently laid-off county employees.
He said the board will re-evaluate the situation next year to determine whether the fair will be held in 2014. Events including the junior livestock show and 4-H exhibits will still take place, due to the board's desire to "continue to provide the much-needed support for our youth."
Residents of the county sounded their sadness and frustrations Tuesday night. Tooele County resident Mike Pressley said he bought a newspaper because he saw a headline that said the 60-year-old county fair had fallen to a budget crisis.
"We out here in Tooele, and Tooele Valley, have more of a hometown feel, and the county fair is one of those things that makes it even more of a hometown event," he said.
Tooele County leaders are trying to cut $4 million this year after federal funding for the chemical depot stopped because the project was finished. Close to 65 county workers have already been laid off, and the Deseret Peak Complex was basically shut down.
Tooele County has not raised taxes since 1987. Pressley said he would be willing to pay a few more dollars in taxes to save the fair.
"If it would save some of the down-home core values of our families, of our kids, of our schools? No problem. I'd be all about it," he said.
Contributing: Stephanie Grimes