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MILLERSBURG -- Before Gail Cochran became a member of the Holmes County Fair board, she admits she never gave much thought to all the things that had to be paid for by the board. Now that she is the treasurer, her eyes are wide open."We had to pay for water to keep the dust down," Cochran said. "We had to pay to haul manure from the barns. And if it's a damp, rainy year, we have to pay for extra spraying for mosquitoes. There are quite a few things we never think about that we are paying for."Some of the more obvious expenses incurred are tent rentals, utilities and entertainment."I would say our biggest expense is entertainment," Cochran said. "That's our grandstand and Stage on the Green entertainment. There is always something going on at the grandstand, and there is always something going on at the Stage on the Green, Monday through Saturday."Based on figures from last year's fair, entertainment costs were about $64,000.The electric expense last year was $24,000, trash removal was an additional $5,700, and sewer and water were $5,000. Another big expenditure was for security ($12,000) and insurance ($15,000)."We carry a policy just for the week of the fair," Cochran said. "That covers property and includes some rain insurance for our three biggest nights of entertainment."It costs a little over $10,000 for our tents," she added. "Another very important service provided is the Port-o-Johns, which cost $1,900 for the week."Equipment rental, such as golf carts, power lights for the parking lots, equipment for the pulling tracks and general equipment, costs $17,000."There is also a miscellaneous category in our budget, where everything that doesn't fit somewhere else is dumped," she said. "Some of those things include health inspection, scales for the livestock that has to be inspected, supplies for the fairgrounds, such as tissues and towels and soap and things like that all fall under that category. Everything that is not covered somewhere else falls under this category, and that was around $34,000."We also had our junior fair expense ($17,000), which includes judges, trophies, awards that are paid to the kids in the clubs, trips that are sponsored and meals for the judges," Cochran added.The 2013 fair was budgeted at $307,400 and the fair board spent $266,258."We started 2013 out with $34,2257," Cochran said. "We deposited for one more during the fair, $183,927.27. I wrote out checks for $180,411.40, and we ended up $37,773.65, which increases our bottom line $3,500 as of the end of September 2013. As you can see, we started with $34,000 and ended with $37,000. That's why they call it nonprofit."The budget for this year is $306,300."So far this year, we have taken in about $72,000, and I have written out $59,000," Cochran said.The main source of revenue for the fair is through admission and sponsorship."We have a lot of sponsorship, including corporate sponsors, we have someone who sponsors the golf carts, the Stage on the Green, and then sponsors of specific events and activities."Weather is a big factor that has an impact on attendance."If we have bad weather, it sure affects us," Cochran said. "We hold our breath every year that we have enough to pay for what we put on."Moving the date of the fair up a week in 2011 was a move that is still being measured."I think the biggest positive is kids having that little break before school," board member Tara Sheldon said. "Instead of jumping right into school from the fair, now they have a week."
The 2014 Holmes County Fair will run Monday-Saturday.
Reporter Kevin Lynch can be reached at 330-674-5676 or klynch@the- daily-record.com.