Nevada State Fair Going on Hiatus This Year

Reno, CA….Dear Fair Friends and Supporters, The Board of Directors for the Nevada State Fair met on Tuesday, March 8th, 2011, and came to a decision that was difficult to make but was sadly inevitable to do. For the first time in the history of the fair (since 1874), there will not be a state fair this year, ending a 136 year run that established itself as being the longest running event in Nevada.

After months of painstaking efforts to reach out to sponsors, community leaders, government officials, and most recently the general public, The Nevada State Fair was not able to generate the necessary funding to overcome an enormous debt coupled with the necessary money needed to produce the 2011 fair. To date, only 13% of the total amount needed has been raised or pledged which is far from the goal.

We want to express our most sincere and humble gratitude to the many volunteers and supporters of the Nevada State Fair who stood by her over the past several years, and especially in the last several weeks. The local folks and 4H kids & leaders who came to Casale’s for spaghetti dinners and to Legends for the Nevada Round Up to put their dollar bills in the kitty, and who sent in notes, emails, and checks over the past month, are to be commended and applauded for their devotion and understanding of the importance of this storied state tradition. We recognize the fact that there are many individuals out there who are passionate about the Nevada State Fair and their dedication and pride as Nevadans shined brightly through all of their efforts to save it.

Unfortunately, the fair was not able to raise enough support and funding from citizens statewide, major corporations, or government agencies and officials to help offset the deficit which could’ve potentially kept the event going.

Those individuals whose donations we were able to track (checks, electronic, etc.) will be offered their donations back if so desired. All other donations will be put towards rebuilding the fair. It is our intention to not file for bankruptcy, but to continue efforts to raise money to satisfy the fair’s debts which could perhaps put us in a position to revive the fair at some later date in the future.
A few little known facts about the state fair….

1. The Nevada State Fair is one of only a few state fairs across the country that does not receive any state, federal, or local government funding. It relies solely on the generous support of donors, sponsors, and event revenues (admissions, concessions, etc).

2. The Nevada State Fair is one of the only state fairs that do not own their own fairgrounds. Many state fairs thrive on money that is generated from renting out the fairgrounds to other shows or productions as a viable means of revenue. The Nevada State Fair has resided in the Reno Livestock Events Center since 1953, but this facility is owned by Washoe County and is managed by the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority (RSCVA). In essence, they are our landlords. While the Nevada State Fair does not pay ”rent” to use the facility as other shows or events do, we do pay for services during the fair that are provided by the RSCVA, (staffing the event for grounds set up, maintenance and utilities, equipment, etc.).

3. The Nevada State Fair, as is the case with many other fairs, does not own or operate its own carnival. The carnival operator is a separate contractor who enters into an agreement with the state fair to provide a service in exchange for the space to operate and a nominal percentage of the gross receipts. Our carnival operator is Paul Maurer Shows out of California, which is one of the top performing amusement operations in the industry. We are proud to be their partner since 2005.

4. The Nevada State Board of Directors is a 100% volunteer board. The Governor of Nevada (by virtue of the office) is the “Honorary” Chairman of the Board, but he or she does not play an active role in the decision making or planning process.

5. The Nevada State Fair does employ 2 to 3 seasonal employees at an hourly rate (June through Sept) to handle the processing of the livestock entries, exhibit processing, and office staffing. The Executive Director position is a year long position that is typically paid from an approved annual budget. Since there has been insufficient funds within said budget, the Executive Director position has been primarily fulfilled on a volunteer basis over the past several months.