August 18, 2008

Late carnival leaves county fair in debt

Not having a regular carnival at the Mercer County Fair in June has taken a toll on the fair’s bank account. After all the bills are in and paid, the Mercer County Fair will be in the red, short about $8,000. Longtime fair board treasurer Donna Buchmann said in order to meet all expenses, the fair board will need a bank line of credit. She met with Mercer County Commissioners Aug. 6 to ask the county to guarantee the loan. “We’re not asking you to make any payments. We’re just asking you to co-sign as guarantor,” Buchmann explained. Buchmann said if the county commission did not guarantee the loan, she would have to personally guarantee it. Buchmann explained that in previous years, fair expenses have been paid from carnival proceeds, gate entrance fees and miscellaneous income from concessions and commercial booth rental. She said that the fair usually makes about 30-40 percent from the carnival rides, an amount that includes presales of tickets that are sold at the local Dairy Queen, Farmers Union Oil and other locations. “Last year we received $6,000 in advance carnival money from DQ sales. This year we didn’t because we didn’t have a regular carnival and there were no presales,” she said. Buchmann said in early years when the weather was good, the fair would receive more than $10,000 from pre-sold carnival tickets.

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