Utah State Fair 'broke,' struggling with condemned barns

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  • SummitHigh Salt Lake City, UT
    March 28, 2014 2:30 p.m.

    Is there any appetite for a new venue? Maybe Draper City would be interested in hosting the state fair if/when the prison is relocated... they could incorporate fair grounds into the development plans and have plenty of business for events year-round.

    Utah is a western state with ranching/agricultural tradition, a state fair that is a true attraction should be achievable. I believe it could be profitable, as well.

  • Allen Salt Lake valley, UT
    Feb. 12, 2014 10:33 a.m.

    I'm not familiar with the physical aspects of the state fair. However, previous comments suggest that the state fair and county fair have separate facilities. Why is that?

  • shesaidohkay Utopia, UT
    Feb. 8, 2014 12:43 p.m.

    "The first (problem) is you lack internal controls out there, really badly," he said, adding that revenues don't match expenses and that the fair is spending a significant amount of money on contracts without putting those expenses out to bid.

    "I am very distressed that we are being asked to bail out operations for this," Valentine said.

    Agreed. We can't turn a blind eye because the fair is a source of fun or a family/kid friendly activity. Fairs are great and I support them but when taxpayer funds are involved (especially) there has to be accountability. Don't be so quick to write the check. As far as fund raisers- great idea! I would assume those who freely participate wouldn't expect a financial statement in return. I personally think there are better uses for tax money but I would donate a quilt or buy a chili dinner (or gladly go the county fairgrounds instead).

  • aghast SYRACUSE, UT
    Feb. 8, 2014 11:54 a.m.

    I agree with the comments put forth that the Utah State Fair is an important avenue for Utah to "strut their stuff" (turkey), share a little bull (beef and dairy) squeal joyfully (swine) grow in recognition (garden and other crops) and even take a picture and show off some art. Last time I went however, places that 30 years ago that were given to the public to display their wares was rented to "dog and pony shows" that tried to sell you something. These places crowded out the real intent of the fair for taking the public's dollar and adding revenue to the State Fairs budget. Return to a more traditional fair and not so pricey vendors might actually have a positive effect. Who would of thunk it?

    I am speaking of course as an old Agricultural Bumpkin - and proud of it!!!

  • Mike Richards South Jordan, Utah
    Feb. 8, 2014 7:23 a.m.

    The County Fair barns and facilities seem to be in top notch condition. Why spend millions to rebuild and repair the State Fairgrounds when other excellent facilities are aready available?

  • My2Cents Taylorsville, UT
    Feb. 8, 2014 2:21 a.m.

    Remember who owns this property, its SLC, and they are on a manhunt to turn every open space into and occupied space collecting taxes year round.

    A State Fair park must have agriculture and farmers and ranchers to justify the use of this land. Since Utah has stopped being agricultural state to become a wannabe indudtrial state this property would better serve Slat Lake City as an industrial or commercial land.

    It seems that letting the property and buildings become condemn intentionally for retail conversion. Open land and buffer zones are not making the city any money and its time to scrap the idea of green grass and parks for asphalt and concrete. Any taxes or income gleaned from the 3 week fair is confiscated for other tax fund use.

    SLC has stripped a large portion of the fair park land to build a sports complex on the property and its time to sell the fair grounds to other developers, UTA needs money. The writing is on the wall, the state fair is about to become history unless SLC can blackmail the taxpayers to pay SLC the losses of possible tax revenues.

  • Born in Bountiful Provo, Utah
    Feb. 8, 2014 1:08 a.m.

    You all need to see the Calgary Stampede or the Arizona State fair and follow their lead. Calgary, the greatest show in the west. Why has Utah developed a great tradition?

  • Katherine Centerville, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 5:51 p.m.

    What about a permanent exhibit of pictures and things from throughout the fairs history (new items being added each year) with a space to donate to keep the fair funded.

    What about a traveling exhibit that goes to each of the county fairs to promote the State Fair and all people to purchase advanced tickets at a discount.

    What about an annual commemorative pin that can be purchased (perhaps made by OC Tanner) with proceeds going to the fair.

    What about an annual contest among High School students to design the commemorative pin with the winner being honored at the opening ceremonies.

    Just thought of these in the past hour. I'm sure there's a committee of smarter people than me who can come up with some marketing and fund-raising ideas. :)

  • Katherine Centerville, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 5:50 p.m.

    What about a Barn Raising Dinner with $100 a plate tickets and $500 tickets for the VIP table?

    What about a chili cook-off or barbeque cook-off with tickets sold to the public who get to taste and vote for their favorite?

    What about some type of contest that is held at each of the county fairs with the winners from each of the county fairs meeting at the State Fair for the final competition - cooking, dancing, singing, quilting, baking, etc.

    What about $10 raffle tickets for 1/2 a beef (pasture-raised, grass-fed and finished of course) cut and wrapped being sold throughout the fair with winners being announced during the closing ceremonies.

  • Katherine Centerville, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 4:39 p.m.

    The Utah State Fair, like the fireworks on the 4th of July, is a family tradition that needs to continue. People need to have a connection to the food that they eat. If we can bail out the banks and bail out the auto industry we can help the State Fair. HOWEVER, restructuring obviously needs to take place so this doesn't happen again. Youth groups and Church groups need to be approached about ongoing service projects. People on welfare should be required to perform community service while they're receiving benefits. Inmates in jail can perform work and clean up projects. Residents of Utah perform hours upon hours of community service, there's no good reason for the fairgrounds to be in a state of disarray.

  • River Dog Salt Lake City, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 4:35 p.m.

    PMSmith: I agrree with you completely, This is the last and only method for children and adults to strut their stuff. Our State Governemnt spends money on many needless items and should proop up the State fair. Kids work hard grooming and taking care of their animals and need to show them off to the public. Crafts, paintings, flowers and other handiwork are an art in themselves and should be displayed. The buildings are old and in need of repair. Put up the money Utah!

  • PMSmith SANDY, UT
    Feb. 7, 2014 3:55 p.m.

    Ei I Ei I Ooooo! Where will all the sheep, pigs, and cows go?

    Fund the project Utah the Fair is a great family activity and a place where all the Sandpeters and 4H'ers can show off their bull!

    Just my opinion and I'm sticking to it - or standing in it!