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Revenue up, profit down for Fayette County fair

| Thursday, Oct. 11, 2012, 1:16 a.m.

Various ups and downs with the 2012 Fayette County Fair resulted in more revenue and expenses, but less profit.

During the annual meeting Tuesday of the Fayette County Agricultural Improvement Association Inc., treasurer John Blaney reported that the income from this year's fair totaled $950,409.06.

Although up from last year by $33,000 mostly because of different admission prices offered, Blaney said expenses also were up, reaching $997,748.45, a more than $47,000 difference.

Heavy rains hitting the fair for two nights affected revenue in the Chevron Outdoor Arena, bringing in $4,500 less than last year, he said. “Those two days made a difference.”

He added that entertainment expenses, including a higher price for the carnival, were up by $17,000; maintenance was up by $11,000; insurance was up by $1,700; and other expenses, like promotions and taxes, were higher than last year.

The total funds available from last year included with this year's revenue came to $1,014,916.31, he said, but after expenses, there is a fund balance of approximately $17,000.

On a positive note, rental revenue increased by $11,000 this year, partly because of the county's Italian festival using the fairgrounds in August.

Also, the fair board was able to pay off the bleachers installed six years ago for the outdoor arena four years earlier than scheduled.

Barron “Boots” Hetherington, with the executive office of the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture and special adviser to Gov. Tom Corbett, announced that money has been put back into the fair funds after four years of cuts, through casino and gambling revenues rather than through the state's general fund.

“There's twice the funds as last year,” Hetherington said, adding that the 4-H program also received twice as much funding than last year.

Hetherington said it's a way to support the heritage of the state's fairs, which also support the top two industries in the state: agriculture and tourism.

Board member Walt Bumgarner, in a letter to the fair board, wrote that the county's 4-H program has more members involved in livestock than any other county in the state, adding that children aren't joining 4-H because of the fair, but because of the livestock auction.

Blaney reported that this year's Fayette County Livestock Auction totaled $340,361.85, an increase from last year, and fair board members believed it may be the second highest total from the auctions held.

2012 Fayette County Fair Queen Elizabeth Hendricks said that during her reign she was able to attend nine different fairs, is looking forward to representing Fayette County for the 2013 state fair queen contest in Hershey and recalled meeting a couple from Sweden where the husband grew up in the county.

“He made sure the fair was going on when he and his wife were traveling,” Hendricks said.

The 2013 Fayette County Fair will be held from July 25 to Aug. 3.

Mark Hofmann is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-626-3539 or mhofmann@tribweb.com.

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