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Archive for Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Brownback urges earlier start to Kansas State Fair

December 7, 2011, 12:04 p.m. Updated December 8, 2011, 12:33 a.m.

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— Officials of the Kansas State Fair have reacted cautiously to Gov. Sam Brownback’s suggestion that the annual event start earlier each September to include the Labor Day weekend.

Brownback has promoted the idea since he sat on the fair board while serving as Kansas agriculture secretary, and he repeated it this week in an interview with The Hutchinson News.

The 10-day fair now starts every year on the second Friday of September. Brownback said moving it to include the three-day Labor Day weekend would make the fair “a bigger state celebration” and, he predicted, would increase attendance and revenue.

Brownback noted that this year’s attendance was down 4 percent from last year’s 354,000, which was one of the four highest turnouts since 1978.

Fair manager Denny Stoecklein said Brownback — who took office in January — had mentioned the proposal to him during the summer and again during the fair in September. Stoecklein said the governor offered, if funds allowed, to order a study on whether including Labor Day in the schedule would generate revenue.

But shifting the fair, which marks its 100th year in 2012, isn’t as simple as circling new dates on the calendar, Stoecklein said.

Some states, including Colorado and Minnesota, hold their fairs over Labor Day, and many vendors as well as the carnival work Kansas in between other events on the fair circuit, Stoecklein said.

The fair would also be competing with state parks and other events that attract many Kansans around Labor Day, Stoecklein added. And many school districts routinely use a Wednesday during the fair as an in-service day, sending thousands of students to the fair that day as a field trip, he said.

Fair Board member Brad Rayl said he suggested several years ago that the fair be held in August, before school starts. The idea wasn’t popular, he said; August is typically hotter than September, and it’s also the month for many county 4-H fairs.

Still, Rayl said, the dates aren’t fixed for eternity — in fact, the fair used to be held a little later in September.

“I would be more than happy to look at it in a positive manner,” he said. “But for me to vote ‘let’s do this,’ it would have to have so many positives and just a few negatives.”

A thorough study is critical before any change is made, Rayl concluded.

Comments

Beth Bird 2 years, 4 months ago

And why is this something that Brownback needs to worry about? Don't we have bigger issues??

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friendlyjhawk 2 years, 4 months ago

This? This is what we get from the meeting he HAD to attend in Wichita and couldn't make it to be with the President of the United States? So he sent the Lt Governor instead? Just plain rude to the Fair Board and Osawatomie!

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Stuart Sweeney 2 years, 4 months ago

This is the first time King Sam has open his mouth and let something out that I could actually think may be reasonable!

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GovJunkie 2 years, 4 months ago

...and in a related story, Governor Brownback urged the Federal Government to move July 4th to the 5th, Christmas gets moved up to August, since that's when radio stations begin playing Christmas music and the New Year will coincide with the Chinese New Year. Pictures at eleven!

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kansasplains 2 years, 4 months ago

It's a great idea. But keep the fair in Hutchinson. It's a very good location, central to Kansas.

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Jan Rolls 2 years, 4 months ago

You'd think big mouth would have asked the fair officials first before opening his big fat mouth.

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SOS 2 years, 4 months ago

Kansas City is a great idea. There would also be Good Guys and Greaserama to draw people over Labor Day. Who wants to "visit" Hutch?

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George_Braziller 2 years, 4 months ago

I really doubt it would it would work. The Labor Day weekend is the unofficial end of summer and the last three-day weekend with consistently warm weather.

Kids are out of school, a lot of people have that Monday off, and there are already many other events both large and small going on then.

I grew up in the area and Hutch is a ghost town that weekend.

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ThePilgrim 2 years, 4 months ago

I don't think that doing it over labor Day would attract more visitors. When 100,000 people (!) go to El Dorado lake for Labor day I don't think they would go to the Fair instead.

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kochmoney 2 years, 4 months ago

It would also attract more visitors and more revenue if it were located in Kansas City.

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Antonym 2 years, 4 months ago

I'm sure they could find some Chinese vendors and a Chinese carnival for cheap.

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concernedeudoravoter 2 years, 4 months ago

Not an unreasonable idea, but doesn't he have more important issues to be spending his time on?

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Hooligan_016 2 years, 4 months ago

It seems like a reasonable suggestion. Ultimately it will be up to the fair officials, but if the vendors aren't available it's going to be difficult to change.

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Maxwell Butterfield 2 years, 4 months ago

Wow, I can't wait until somebody makes this a political issue.

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