It takes a lot of volunteers to make the Washington Town and Country Fair happen each summer — from the all-volunteer 23-member Fair Board, to the volunteers working the gates, concession stands, livestock shows, motor sports arena and the list goes on and on.
The annual Fair report was given last Thursday at the Washington Area Chamber of Commerce’s business breakfast meeting for all members. The Fair is a division of the Chamber. Joe Maniaci, 2017 Fair chairman, shared some of the highlights of the five-day event, along with the economic impact to the community.
For the 16th consecutive year, the total economic impact topped the $1 million mark at $1,316,056.53, down slightly from the year before. The record impact was set in 2014 at $1,543,547. Although not a record, the impact this past year is definitely impressive. This is 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.
Total revenue for the 2017 Fair was down slightly from the previous year at $2,173,177. The 2016 Fair reported a record revenue of $2,303,333. It’s the fifth consecutive year that Fair revenues have exceeded $2 million. Expenses for the Fair came in at $2,086,351, down from $2,170,718.70 in 2016. The 2017 Fair posted a net profit of $86,826, down about $45,788 from the previous year.
But it’s not all about the numbers. Maniaci, and the many chairmen before him, have noted the success of the Fair can be measured in many ways. The 9/11 exhibit was one of the best ever, he said, along with the big crowds for the Main Stage shows, motor sports and the livestock auction. “It was five days of Fairadise,” Maniaci said and we agree.
The Fair provides five days of fun for young and old. Fairgoers leave with memories that last a lifetime and keep them coming back. It’s also the biggest event in Washington every year and involves a workforce second to none. That’s the biggest success of the Fair — its ability to attract the countless volunteers who make it all happen every year. To borrow a quote Maniaci shared at the breakfast: “There is not much out there stronger than the heart of a volunteer.”