After making do with a scaled-down 1990 Utah County Fair, organizers are asking voters to show their support Nov. 6 by approving county funding for the annual event.
Included on this year's general election ballot is a referendum providing that the County Commission allocate funds from county property taxes for the fair. Mel Hudman, president of the fair board, said the exact amount that his committee will ask from the commission has not yet been set."We made do this year with $5,000 in contributions from local businesses and wound up with a surplus. That was with a drastically scaled-down fair, though."
Previously, the commission had provided as much as $40,000 for the fair. However, in 1989 no funds were given to the fair and no events were held - except for displays organized and paid for by 4-H.
Later that year, however, outgoing County Commissioner Sid Sandberg and some volunteer committees met to establish a new fair organizing committee - one that could possibly lobby local businesses to provide at least $20,000 for the fair. Sandberg said the commission, at least at that time, wanted the fair to be self-supporting.
"I believe we can find sponsors in the county since they would be interested in the benefits of youth participation (from 4-H and Future Farmers of America events).
"In addition, every time I turn around there's another bill from previous fairs. There's trouble in River City - the county's reserves paid for the fair's last three years."
Those efforts provided only one-quarter of Sandberg's goal, Hudman said, so the fair committee has decided that, using the 1990 event as an example, the fair can make money and pay its own way - provided the county foot the initial costs.
"Some said they were disgusted that the fair was so small," Hudman said. "But we felt good about it. There were a lot of people involved in the committee. More than 100 people donated time."
The additional funding would allow the fair committee to hire outside entertainment, advertise and pay their help, including groundskeeping crews, he said.
"This year, we were fortunate to have Spanish Fork City provide so much for our fair - especially letting us use the fairgrounds for free. If not for their donations, the fair would have never gotten off the ground."
In 1991 - though the committee has established the Spanish Fork Fairgrounds as the permanent site for the fair's competitions and displays - the committee might not be as lucky, since the city might consider charging rental fees for the fairgrounds, Hudman said.
"Spanish Fork has been very hospitable, but we can't think that they can continually allow us into their fairgrounds for free. We have to be able to get enough funding for a full-scale fair."
Additionally, Hudman said that the committee was also asking the county to put a check-off box on this year's ballots for $1 contributions to the fair. Elections officials, though, say they haven't heard anything about the contributions box.