Wednesday, September 6th, 2017
Favorable weather gives county fair a boost
By Cheryl McKirnan
CELINA - Good weather improved the financial picture at this year's Mercer County Fair, board members learned at Tuesday night's meeting.
"Mother Nature played a part in our successful fair," fair manager Cara Muhlenkamp said as board members viewed budget figures. Revenues stand at more than $4,000 over the initially anticipated $902,600. Fair sponsorships totaled $94,000, well exceeding the anticipated $90,000.
Expenses included $14,000 for utilities, $14,000 for security, $3,800 for trash pick-up, $73,999 for rides, $104,000 for the concert, $7,300 in legal costs and $48,000 for entertainment.
More than 1,200 out-of-county concert tickets added to local sales helped make the Brothers Osborne/Granger Smith/Earl Dibbles Jr. concert a profitable venture.
"Other counties in Ohio don't plan to break even with concert sales - they only intend to get more people on the fairgrounds," Muhlenkamp said. "Although our concert was not a huge financial success, the attending public helps support fair vendors."
The board is sharing proceeds from the woodcarving auctions with area schools. They will distribute more than $7,000.
The Father Leo Patalinghug presentation was well received, and board members plan to bring him back to the 2018 fair if his schedule is open. Members of an ecumenical group of county ministers were pleased with the engaging direction of the "Grace before Meals" combination of devotions, family relationships, recipes and cooking demonstration.
In discussing gate pricing for next year, the board decided to maintain the schedule of providing each $100 of sponsorship with seven gate tickets but to raise the weekly passes from $20 to $25, and weekly ride passes from $35 to $40. Daily gate admission will remain at $6 per ticket.
New food vendors are being checked out for 2018 and include a noodle booth, Chinese and Mexican foods as well as additional non-alcoholic drink vendors.
Board members moved to provide funding for Muhlenkamp and secretary Tessa Collins to attend a fair managers national conference. Muhlenkamp is a member of the Ohio Fair Managers Association Board and is working toward a national certification.
Additional plans are underway for the Halloween campout, which will include a 50/50 raffle with a portion of the Mercer County Fair Board's half to go toward hurricane relief.
Among the many planned activities are a craft show, children's activities and music.
Muhlenkamp also reminded members that "time passes quickly and in March we will be hosting a reverse raffle with many additional activities."