Calling All Communities- Support Your Fairgrounds
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The Western Fairs Association is calling all communities to support the Network of Fairs.
Fairgrounds are often the heartbeats of our communities, acting as a gathering place in good times and in times of crisis, and generating billions of dollars in economic impact. However, Fairgrounds are funded solely by the revenue that they generate from the annual fairs, and other large-scale events, which are now prohibited due to Covid-19. Many Fairgrounds are now facing an uncertain future. We need Emergency Funding in the new package of Federal economic relief. Without support, many Fairs will close and the communities they serve will suffer.
To date as a result of the response to Covid-19, most fairs have canceled, postponed, or drastically altered the annual fair, and more are expected to make that decision in the coming weeks. Educational, entertainment, and family events that are important to the communities they serve, like weddings, family reunions, seasonal trade shows, equestrian events, dog shows, unicameral, stand down events for veterans, non-profit organization fundraisers, learning center activities, and other community events have also been canceled, postponed, or closed. The financial hardship is not only felt by our fairs and employees but also by our service members and all the local businesses that rely on our Fairgrounds and the Network of Fairs to survive.
In addition, Fairgrounds are an essential part of the infrastructure necessary for the state and federal governments to effectively respond to natural disasters and emergencies. Fairgrounds are often utilized during natural disasters. They serve as command centers for the Office of Emergency Services, Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, and FEMA. Fairgrounds serve as hospitals, homeless shelters, warming and cooling centers, and drive-thru testing facilities. Fairgrounds are a community lifeline during earthquakes, floods, and wildfires and provide essential shelters for rescued animals, including large animals and livestock which are difficult to house elsewhere. During the Covid-19 outbreak, many Fairgrounds have or are currently serving as coronavirus testing centers, command centers for the Office of Emergency Services, or homeless shelters to help the effort to deal with the myriad of issues resulting from the pandemic. Fairgrounds are self-funded and receive no revenue for these services. Most fairgrounds rely on event revenues to operate and do not receive assistance from the state or national government. With the postponement or cancellation of all events over the past months due to the Covid-19 pandemic, fairgrounds’ revenue streams have been severely depleted.
Returning to “normal” could be months away or longer, which means that mass gatherings like sporting events, fairs, or concerts aren’t going to happen any time soon. Fairgrounds are self-funded and the aforementioned governmental actions will put all Fairgrounds in jeopardy.
We respectfully request your help during these unprecedented challenging times by calling on Congress to appropriate federal emergency assistance to the Network of Fairs. Without this level of support, many fairgrounds will be forced to close.
Fairgrounds have always been there to add to the quality of life and assist the citizens of this great nation. We are very optimistic about the future of fairs and the strength of the Network and its partners. Now is the time to provide emergency funding and preserve the legacy of the nation’s Fairgrounds for future generations to come.
Your Fair Misses you too… Help us come back.
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