Hutchinson A study has found the Kansas State Fair is a big money maker for the entire state.
It pumps nearly $6 million into Reno County, where the event takes place each September. An additional $4.1 million flows into the remainder of south-central Kansas, and the 10-day event generates about $1.6 million for the rest of the state.
“There is a definite local return that comes back to the local community having the fairgrounds in Hutchinson,” said Fair Manager Denny Stoecklein.
Pat Oslund, a research economist with the Institute for Policy and Social Research at the University of Kansas, presented the preliminary findings this past week at a fair board meeting in Topeka.
Two years ago, the Kansas Legislature appropriated $40,000 for the study to help the fair determine the event’s effect, who attends the fair and why, as well as why some residents don’t come to the fair.
The study found that cost and distance are big obstacles, not just for those in northeast Kansas but also closer to Wichita.
Some western Kansas residents said they didn’t go to the fair because they went to the Colorado State Fair or traveled to Mexico for a fun experience.
About 20 percent of fairgoers come from Reno County; 67 percent from south-central Kansas, including Reno County. Three percent come from outside the state.