The total economic impact of the Washington Town and Country Fair has topped the $1 million mark for the ninth consecutive year.
Fair Chairman Dale Westhoff gave the annual report Thursday morning at the Chamber of Commerce’s breakfast business meeting.
The total amount contributed locally from this year’s Fair, held in early August, was $1,126,806, up about $88,518 from the 2011 Fair, which had an economic impact of $1,038,288.
The 2007 Fair still holds the record with a local economic impact of $1,387,180.48.
Total revenue for this year’s Fair is $1,820,154. Expenses for 2012 totaled $1,643,364.
Overall, this year’s Fair posted a net profit of $176,789, up nearly $95,000 from last year. The 2011 Fair had a net profit of $82,020.
“The numbers look very good,” Westhoff told Chamber members.
Westhoff said the 2012 Fair opened on a Wednesday with good weather, good crowds and a good queen contest. On Thursday, he said, it was a little warmer, but the crowds were very big.
“I think we had the biggest Thursday night crowd ever,” Westhoff said, for country music singer Jake Owen. “On Friday, it was hot, but we still had great crowds and probably our biggest tractor pull ever.”
Saturday started out strong with “people pouring in,” but then Mother Nature wrecked havoc, he said, with heavy rain and winds forcing Fair officials to shut down the REO Speedwagon concert which had just got under way and eventually evacuating the grounds.
“It was a hard decision, but the right one,” Westhoff said. “No injuries are worth the profit lost.”
Thanks to the hard work of the Fair board, city workers and volunteers, the fairgrounds were cleaned up and the gates opened at noon on Sunday.
“It was a spectacular closing day,” said Westhoff, adding the Fair lived up to its theme of “Making Memories” in more ways than one.
The local economic impact includes money spent on capital improvements; supplies and services purchased from area merchants; money earned by school, civic, church and service organizations; salaries paid to the Chamber staff; and prize money paid out to exhibitors and contestants.
Fair premiums and prize money paid out for home economics, livestock and motor sports events totaled approximately $44,707, up from $43,400 last year. In 2010, $55,476 was paid out.
The Blue Ribbon livestock auction, which includes market steers, hogs, lambs and milk, had receipts of about $334,694. The auction grand total last year was $338,068, and in 2010 was $274,130. The record is $419,854.25, set in 2007.
All but 1 percent of the money bid in the livestock auctions goes back to the youth exhibitors. The money held back is put into a scholarship fund for youth who show livestock.
Scholarships also are presented to the Fair queen and her court. This year, the combined scholarship total for livestock and the queen and her court was $6,750, down from $14,750 last year.
Donations to organizations totaled nearly $101,000. These are the funds that are paid to schools, churches and service organizations for working concessions and parking lots for the Fair, which they in turn funnel back to the community.
Supplies and services purchased locally from vendors totaled $500,857, which is down just slightly from $518,099.72 last year. In 2010, $598,811.97 was purchased locally. This total includes salaries for Chamber staff, park personnel, cleanup, guards and data entry services.
The Fair Board also spent about $800 for capital improvements this year.
Westhoff thanked his board, Chamber staff and all of the volunteers “in this great community” for making the 2012 Fair the success it was.
“Our deepest gratitude” goes out to everyone who helped, he said.
At the end of his report, Westhoff introduced the 2012 Fair chairman, Allan Behr. Fair board members also were introduced.