Grand stand revenue down

Published 6:56 am Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Mower County Fair’s grand stand wasn’t so grand in 2010, but the fair board is looking for ways to restore the long time fair tradition.

While the fair managed to make money in 2010, the grand stand was less successful.

“Financially, the fair was a success,” said Fair Board member Ken Trom, who gave a quarterly report to the county board of commissioners Tuesday.

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However, Trom said the Fair Board is looking for ways to enhance the grand stand to attract more visitors.

Trom said the grand stand attendance was about 4,000 people. He noted many county fairs have the same problem with producing popular grand stand entertainment.

“What you can put up in front of grand stand anymore is really limited,” Trom said.

“It’s a smaller and smaller part of county fairs,” he added.

However, Trom noted that Freeborn County has a highly successful grand stand.

Unlike Freeborn County, Mower County’ s fair is still free, Trom noted.

“We hear about Albert Lea all the time — the grand stand,” Trom said. “They hear about Mower County, and their free gate all the time.”

One reason the fair is still free despite the loss of county funding is sponsorship, which Trom said increased by 80 percent.

“Our sponsors have really stepped up to the place and we try to give them a good value,” Trom said.

While sponsorship was up, fair attendance was down in 2010. Mower County’s summer get together still managed to turn a profit, Trom said.

Attendance for the 2010 Mower County Fair dipped to about 69,000, according to Trom. He attributed the 15 percent drop to the weather, as temperatures topped out above 90 degrees during the fair along with a high humidity.

Even with a low attendance, Trom noted that Sunday, which was a promotional day for Quality Pork Employees, saw a strong turnout.

“We made up a lot of ground that day,” Trom said.

Despite the low grand stand turnout, Trom said the fair had its successes. Trom said the 4-H program had a strong year at the fair, as did the midway and many other presenters at the fair.

2010 Mower County Fair revenue

• Grand stand — Down $7,000

• Sponsorship — Up $49,000

• Space rentals/exhibitors — Up $6,000 (started charging for electrical hookup)

• Parking — Even

• Beer garden — Down $2,800

—According to Fair Board member Ken Trom