ERDA, Tooele County — The Tooele County Fair, a community tradition for more than 60 years, has been canceled due to the county’s financial crisis and lack of county employees to help run the fair.
The Tooele County Fair Board voted unanimously to cancel it during its meeting Monday night. Fair board chairman Mark McKendrick said he and the commissioners "feel terrible" about the decision but said the fair can not go forward without recently laid-off county employees.
The junior livestock show and 4-H exhibits will still take place, however, as the board voted to "continue to provide the much-needed support for our youth."
"We out here in Tooele and Tooele Valley have more of a hometown feel, and the county fair is one of those things that makes it even more of a hometown event," Tooele County resident Mike Pressley said.
Tooele County leaders are trying to cut $4 million this year after federal funding for the Deseret Chemical Depot ended when the last weapon was destroyed. About 65 county workers have already been laid off, and the Deseret Peak Complex, which includes facilities from swimming pools and soccer fields, as well as museums and a miniature golf course, was shut down.
Tooele County has not raised taxes since 1987. Pressley said he would be willing to pay a few more dollars in taxes to save the fair.
"If it would save some of the down-home core values of our families, of our kids, of our schools? No problem. I'd be all about it," he said.
The livestock show will take place during the first weekend in August. The youth participants are already raising their animals and rely on the opportunity to show and sell their livestock. The livestock show has its own board.
The 4-H exhibits are run by the Utah State University Extension Service, which still need to determine the date and location for the 4-H exhibits.