Fairground events, revenues begin to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic

LAKE MOSES – As you would expect for an event location, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly reduced revenue at the Grant County Fairgrounds. But director Jim McKiernan said business – and income – has started to increase.

With the removal of restrictions on outdoor venues set to take effect on June 30, McKiernan said he is already seeing more event bookings. People book events four and five months later, he said.

McKiernan reviewed the finances for the first four months of the year with Grant County Commissioners on Tuesday. He provided them with a comparison of 2019, 2020, and the first four months of 2021.

The fairground generated $ 329,847 in event revenue in 2020. The first four months of 2021 generated $ 171,005 in revenue, which means that in the first four months the fairground generated almost half of its total revenues in 2020.

Income is starting to come back, McKiernan said. Revenue for April 2021, $ 121,085, was almost double that of April 2020, $ 61,801.

Expenses for the fairgrounds were higher than revenues in 2019 and 2020, but the difference was much larger in 2020 than in 2019. Expenses for 2019 were $ 1.2 million, compared to $ 901,460 in 2020 Spending for the year to date is comparable to 2019, he said. .

McKiernan said more and more groups are wondering how to organize events large and small, ranging from a monster truck rally and equestrian events to quinceañeras and weddings. The fairground has booked 12 events in the past two or three weeks.

Many people are rescheduling events that had to be postponed due to the pandemic, he said. He expects a lot of interest in the Grant County Fair, he said, as people will be ready to go out. The fair is scheduled for August 17-21.

Commissioner Cindy Carter asked about the non-profit groups and service organizations that traditionally operate food stalls during the fair. McKiernan said everyone has expressed interest in returning, except for the Catholic Church youth group Our Lady of Fatima.

However, many groups are struggling to find volunteers to run the stands, he said.

Cheryl Schweizer can be contacted by email at [email protected]

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