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Media / Press Releases
Irene has Impact on Local CT Fairs
 

By Terri Fassio, Public Relations Co-Director

  AUGUST 30, 2011 --

With Hurricane/Tropical Storm Irene hitting Connecticut hard, many local Agricultural Fairs and other events have had to close their doors early, postpone, or cancel entirely. These events rely on Mother Nature to steer their fate, and when Mother Nature takes a turn for the worse, so does the financial viability of these organizations.

The Brooklyn Fair.  The Terryville Lions Country Fair.  The Chester Fair.  The Harmony Grange Fair.  The Litchfield Grange Fair.  The Simsbury Grange Agricultural Fair.  These are just a few of the Connecticut events affected.  

Connecticut State Grange President Jody Cameron, who is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Windham County Agricultural Society which operates the Brooklyn Fair, explains how Fair operations are weather dependent. "Obviously when you present an event like a fair, weather can either be your friend or your foe. Most fairs, festivals and like events are used to inclement weather, but not a weather system of this magnitude.  These type of weather events not only negatively impact the fair itself, but the vendors, the exhibitors, guests, and the local economy."

The Connecticut State Grange President speaks from experience.  The State Grange sponsored the Connecticut Agricultural Fair for nearly 40 years.  It was one of the largest and most popular agricultural fairs in Connecticut, but the event was forced to permanently close its doors after suffering through three consecutive years of disastrous weather.  Cameron is a former President of the Connecticut Agricultural Fair.  

"By losing an agricultural fair like the Connecticut Agricultural Fair, you lose the ability to bring agriculture to the community," Cameron said.  "For many guests that attend a fair, it's their only notable interaction with agriculture all year long."  

Fair organizations plan their events a year or more in advance, and in most cases, rely solely on the results of one, two, three or four days for the majority of their funding. Very few of the Fairs and Festivals in Connecticut have a paid staff, instead they have the dedication of countless volunteers for event planning and preparation.  The decision to cancel has an economic impact not only on the hundreds of businesses operating at the fairs who depend on their income from these events, but on the thousands of people who attend and participate as well.  Profits from these events benefit the communities in which they are held, through scholarships and donations.  With little or no profits, these donations are non-existent, and sponsoring future events comes into question.  

But community support is the light at the end of the dark, stormy tunnel.  Oftentimes, these organizations sponsor other events for fundraising and people are encouraged to show their support through attendance and participation year-round. Many of these groups are 501c3 organizations and can accept tax-deductible donations.  

Cameron urges the community to show their support for local Fairs and events. "With the communities' continued support these organizations are ensured the ability to continue to promote agriculture, to promote family fun and to promote family values," he said.  "By working together we will guarantee a future for this extremely important agri-tourism -level layer of business."

More information on the Agricultural Fairs in Connecticut can be found by visiting the Connecticut Association of Fairs website at www.CTFairs.org.

For more information on the Grange in Connecticut please visit www.CTStateGrange.org.

 
 
 

 
     
     
       
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