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Agri-Business Center board, management, and Fair work to



Fair facts for 2014 in a nutshell: about 10,000 attended the five-night engagement this year. The Agri-Business Center cleared about $58,000 on the event, with revenues of approximately $150,000 and expenses of just over $92,000. That is roughly $11,000 less than last year’s fair, according to Agri- Business Center director Chase Moore.

The main take-away for future fair planning? The Agri-Business Center Board intends to return the fair next year to its traditional mid-September posting on the calendar. Two reasons: popular demand, and to avoid delaying it beyond the season for vegetables and other farm products featured in the agricultural display areas of the fair.

Did the fair seem a bit smaller to you this year? If so, you win the size-wise prize. ( This is it – mention in the newspaper.) There were a total of 35 midway attractions this year (food trucks plus game booths plus rides), compared to 40 in 2012 and nearly 50 in 2010.

Moore said he thought the smaller size was due to delaying the fair two weeks this year, placing it in the busiest part of midway vendor Kissel Entertainment’s event Continued from front schedule. Therefore, less equipment was available to send to Oneonta because other fairs were being serviced at the same time, he said.

The Agri-Business Center itself did not do as well this year as its signature event, the fair. The September financial report summarizing revenues and expenses for the fiscal year Oct. 1, 2013 to Sept. 30, 2014, shows end-of year expenses of $238,436.89, compared to end-of-year revenues of $136,859.30. The result is an operating loss of $101,577.59 for fiscal year 2013-2014.

The loss appears worse than it is, according to Agri-Business Center Board chairman Jeff Hallmark, who notes that this year’s fair, scheduled two weeks later than usual, did not fall within the financial reporting period for the 2013-2014 fiscal year – missed it by a week. Costs and revenues from this year’s fair will apply to the 2014-2015 fiscal year (“next” year). Last year’s fair, scheduled at the usual time in mid-September did not fall into the current fiscal year either. It fell into the 2012-2013 fiscal year.

So the 2013-2014 financial results do not include proceeds from a fair at all, and the fair is traditionally the single most profitable event the Agri-Business Center hosts annually.

If 2014 fair revenues and expenses had been included in the 2013-2014 end-of-year financial report, the totals for Agri-Business Center operations for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2014 would have been: Expenses: $330,521.74; Revenues: $287,334.51; Operating loss: $43,187.23. Note that this is a calculation that will not be officially performed and will not reflect official operating results, for the reasons explained above.

Also, recall that next year’s fair will return to the original mid-September schedule. So, both fairs – this year’s and next year’s – will be included in the end-of-year financial results for the 2014-2015 fiscal year. Should make it a banner year by comparison, in fact.

In recent years, the Blount County- Oneonta Agri-Business Center, through its management and its board, have struggled diligently to reach the break-even point in its operations. Efforts have focused on trying to expand its scope beyond the agricultural themed events of earlier years, a good example being the Phobia haunted maze event of recent days.

The Agri-Business Center building and property are jointly owned by Blount County and the City of Oneonta, purchased in 2003 at a cost of $325,073 according to last year’s audit report. Both subsidize the center annually: with $10,000 contributed by the county and $5,000 budgeted by the city this year.