Letter to the Editor/Opinion Article: State Fair in Pueblo

Letters to the Editor (4)



As we move into August, we draw closer to the largest agricultural summer event in Colorado. This is an exciting time for families to enjoy the Fair atmosphere while learning more about the agricultural world around them including where their food comes from, the role agriculture plays in their lives, and learning more about how farmers and ranchers care for their livestock and land.

There have been some questions as to whether the Fair should move to a new location but we are proud to call Pueblo home. The Fair has been in the same area for over 140 years and we believe that is where it should stay.

Governor Hickenlooper supports the Colorado State fair staying in Pueblo and adds, “Pueblo has been home to the Colorado State Fair before Colorado was even a state. It’s a long standing summer tradition for residents and visitors alike, and Pueblo continues to be an ideal location to showcase Colorado’s agricultural heritage and background.”

The fairgrounds have a number of buildings on the State Historical Registry, which creates a tremendous cultural value. In addition, we have buildings for the youth who participate in 4-H and FFA that create a unique venue for those events. Plus, moving the Fair would require a tremendous financial investment to move and construct a facility that can handle our unique event. There is no other location in Colorado that is equipped to handle the type of events required of a State Fair as the fairgrounds in Pueblo. In addition, the State would still have an historic site to maintain regardless of the location of the Colorado State Fair annual event.

Let’s not forget that Colorado is much more than our capitol city of Denver. How can we say our mission is to support Colorado agriculture but move out of rural Colorado? Pueblo and its surrounding communities are vital to Colorado’s agricultural stability. Moving from Pueblo would be a great disservice to our agricultural families and communities across the state.

The annual Colorado State Fair event is a success on many levels. The Fairgrounds facility provides nearly $34 million in economic activity to Colorado throughout the year; $29 million of that activity is driven by the annual State Fair event. While there have been a number of statements about our financial shortfall, many have an incomplete picture of a complex budget. For FY2014, we had a loss of approximately $500,000 for the entire year (all operating revenues, expenses, and government funding). We do face financial struggles for the year-around operation of the fairgrounds. Over the years, we have been able to host large, national events such as camper rallies and car shows. These events bring in tourists from across the country and benefits Pueblo businesses. However, we face rising labor costs and utilities like many other facilities and have to find ways to address those rising costs in addition to maintaining a facility that houses nearly 60 buildings with over half being on the Historic Registry.

The Colorado State Fair has created economic benefit that stretches across the state. For example, the Junior Livestock Sale (JLS) is instrumental in supporting the future of Colorado’s agribusiness as it demonstrates to youth the importance of raising quality livestock and the work required of those who pursue careers in agriculture. In 2014, $447,828 went directly to the youth from the JLS alone. In all, 31 counties have benefited from the Sale in the last five years with the top five being Weld, Yuma, Logan, Pueblo, and Adams. Over the past 35 years, the Colorado State Fair Junior Livestock Sale has raised over $8,734,600 for the youth involved in these programs.

Corporate sponsorships are at an all-time high with cash sponsorships exceeding half a million dollars for the annual State Fair event and sponsorships overall exceeding $1.6 million. Over $400,000 comes from the sale of commercial exhibit space and the carnival brings another three quarters of a million dollars.

The State Fair Foundation has also been established to enhance youth programming, education and experiences at the Colorado State Fair. In 2014, the Foundation raised approximately $300,000 in funds and in-kind donations towards those efforts and continues to grow annually.

While we must spend our budget wisely, we must also stay true to our mission of supporting youth and agriculture. There was a time when most people had a connection to the agricultural community, but as more and more people leave rural America and move to the urban areas, we have fewer people producing our food, fiber, and fuel.

It is our goal to promote Colorado agriculture and support Colorado youth. We consider this a fundamental goal for, not only the Colorado State Fair, but for the future of Colorado and our residents. The youth participating in 4-H and FFA are our leaders of tomorrow. We must make every effort to help create a generation that understands the need for a healthy food system. In the last five years, $4,182,337 has been paid to Colorado 4-H and FFA programs, premiums and youth. These are funds that help shape our future as an agricultural state.

As the State Fair Board of Authority, we are truly passionate about the event we help put on with the dedicated efforts of the staff and hope every Coloradan celebrates the summer and our state’s agricultural community by coming to this year’s Fair, starting August 28th. The Colorado State Fair is truly a benefit to the youth it supports, this state and each county it affects financially.



2015 Colorado State Fair Board Members
Arthur Bosworth II, Chairman, Denver County
Mark A. Arndt, Vice Chairman, Weld County
Patty Shaw Castilian, Secretary, Denver County
Michael Cafasso, Pueblo County
David Galli, Pueblo County
William J. Hybl, El Paso County
Lois Tochtrop, Adams County
Virginia “Ginny” Vietti, Summit County
Ronald J. Teck, Mesa County

Filed Under: Letters to the EditorProwers County


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