One day of Mesa County Fair cut

Mesa County officials will lop one day off the annual summer fair next year, a nod to the lean local economy and the fact that the last day traditionally draws the fewest people.

Fair organizers have eliminated Sunday from next year’s five-day event, which will run July 20-24. A sixth day was added in 2007, and Sunday usually has featured side acts and shows. But administrators decided to revert back to a five-day fair next summer, and those acts and shows will be moved to other days.

Fairgrounds Manager Marsha Kosteva said part of what drove the decision to reduce the length of the fair was the fact some patrons came out on Sunday expecting to see animals, only to learn the livestock auctions and the 4-H Club shows were completed by Saturday night.

She also acknowledged that Sunday’s attendance is lower than any other day. Of the nearly 17,000 vehicles that drove into the fairgrounds for last year’s fair, fewer than 1,500 showed up on Sunday. The next lowest day was the first day of the fair on Tuesday, when nearly 1,900 passed through the gates. All other days drew at least 3,200 vehicles, according to Kosteva.

The fair this year pulled in a few thousand dollars less and cost a few thousand dollars more to put than last year, according to figures provided by Kosteva.

She said eliminating Sunday in 2010 will reduce both the fair’s revenue and expenses, although she didn’t know by how much.

The recession has forced county budget managers to slash millions in spending next year and scrutinize each department to see where they might find savings.

“Given the economic times, we are not putting more money into the fair,” County Administrator Jon Peacock said.

Aside from losing Sunday’s five-hour schedule, Kosteva said fair goers won’t miss out on anything

“People are still going to get a very good value,” she said.

“It allows them to provide a better product without having to have additional resources,” Peacock said.


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