Fair looking for new sponsor after Chrysler dealer has to pull out

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DAVIS COUNTY -- No fraud was involved in a big sponsorship loss for the Davis County Fair, just bad timing and a poor economy. The fair lost its biggest sponsor, Layton Hills Dodge, which was on the list of Chrysler dealerships to be shut down.

Every dealership goes through peaks and valleys, but Layton Hills Dodge general manager Chris Sorensen says last week was the hardest week of her career. She had to call all the events the dealership sponsored and tell them they just can't do it this year.

"Those type of non-essential expenses, we're going to cut back until we get rolling and become bigger and better again," Sorensen said.

Davis County fairgrounds
Davis County fairgrounds

One of the bigger events they sponsored was the Davis County Fair Rodeo. "They have been our biggest sponsor. They've been there nine years. We're really going to miss Layton Hills Dodge," said Dave Hansen, director of the Davis County Events Center, where the fair is held.

Hansen says they've lost a few corporate sponsors but still expect to be just fine. "The big sponsors and the corporate sponsors have been a little difficult. The local stuff has been easier. People locally are still active, still supportive, and they're still looking for a good way to promote their business," he said.

Even with the loss of the local Dodge sponsorship, Hansen says the fair will go on as planned and most people won't even notice a difference. In fact, he says they are working on getting a new Dodge sponsorship.

"We're working with national Dodge to find another local dealer to help us out, and national Dodge is optimistic about it," Hansen said.

Still, losing sponsors for local events is the trickle-down effect of the auto business many communities are feeling. For Layton Hills Dodge, that means no more sponsoring softball teams, the Special Olympics, school events or parades for now.

"When we become bigger and better, then we'll be back in the community and be able to support the community like a business should," Sorensen said.

Other communities which are losing auto sponsors for local events include Tremonton, Spanish Fork, Nephi, Brigham City and Cedar City. Typically, auto dealerships are among the biggest sponsors for local events.

E-mail: acabrero@ksl.com

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