2021 Grant County Fair sees substantial revenue increase
Fairgoers make their way down the pathway at the 2021 Grant County Fair.
Casey McCarthy/Columbia Basin Herald
Staff Writer | September 23, 2021 1:03 AM
MOSES LAKE — A bigger crowd spending more money, as well as increases in prices, pushed Grant County Fair revenues this year to almost $650,000.
Fairgrounds manager Jim McKiernan said Wednesday total revenue was about $648,000, including the fair’s cut from the Davis Shows Northwest carnival and the beer garden. That was about a $200,000 increase from 2019, he said.
Fair attendance was about 72,000, McKiernan said.
Campground revenue was up when compared to 2019, and so was parking revenue. More businesses and individuals bought sponsorships, as well, McKiernan said.
Meeting with Grant County Commissioners Monday, McKiernan said most of the food booths, whether community groups or commercial vendors, also saw significant revenue increases. There were fewer food vendors in 2021, he added.
“It was a good fair,” McKiernan said.
Additionally, fairgrounds officials raised the campground and parking fees, a change that was supposed to go into effect in 2020, McKiernan said. Parking is free in the public fairgrounds parking lots, but people who park inside the grounds during fair week are charged a fee. Sponsorship fees also were increased. The carnival owners raised prices for 2021, he said.
However, people attending the fair also spent more money, he said. Fairgrounds officials expected an increase in revenues, he said, but not as much as what happened.
He said he didn’t know if increased fair attendance will become a trend or if 2021 was an outlier.
The Grant County Fair had good weather going for it, with temperatures in the 80s rather than the 90s and 100-plus of the previous six weeks, which could have brought more people.
It also occurred after most restrictions taken to fight the COVID-19 pandemic were suspended and before they were reimposed.
The fair attracted people who hadn’t attended in a while and maybe the experience will bring them back next year, he said. But another possibility was people were just looking for somewhere to go after more than a year of restrictions on movement connected with the coronavirus pandemic.
“The fair was a bit of normalcy, where so many things have been abnormal over the last two years,” he said.