Report covers major events at Enumclaw Expo Center

The Enumclaw Expo Center staff has taken positive steps during the past 12 months to reduce deficits to its operating budget.

That was the word delivered Sept. 12 by Kristen Damazio, marketing and event manager for the city-owned facility. Her comments came during a short-handed session of the Enumclaw City Council, which was without Mayor Liz Reynolds and Councilman Rich Elfers.

"We've made great strides in increasing our revenues while decreasing our expenses," Damazio said, rattling off details of the four big events that made the summer of 2011 a success story.

The Olympic Kennel Club, Scottish Highland Games, Creation Fest 2011 and King County Fair "went way better than last year," Damazio said.

Members of the city council have made it clear they want the Expo Center to be self-supporting and have kept close tabs on profits and losses.

Damazio said the city realized a net profit of $155,000 from the four events and added that three more events have already been slated for next summer. Coming to the Expo Center will be a gospel festival, a recreational vehicle rally and a gathering of Honda Gold Wing riders.

At this point a year ago, Damazio said, the Expo Center was showing a deficit of nearly $216,000. This year, the number has been sliced to approximately $34,000.

Damazio offered brief comments about each of 2011's headline-grabbing events.

• the fair, operated for the first time by Universal Fairs – a Tennessee-based operation – will definitely be back. Damazio said organizers were happy with the first-time effort and have hinted they will be looking to offer better-known entertainment the next time around. Also, there's talk of bringing back a rodeo. Attendance this year was 14,000.

"They're calling it 'a return to greatness," she said.

• Creation Fest 2011 announced an attendance of 14,500, down a bit from 2010, but those in charge are pleased with the venue. Creation has brought a new marketing firm aboard, Damazio said, and will likely be promoting the Enumclaw event on a broader scale, perhaps throughout the entire western United States.

A 10-year contract with the Creation operation began this year.

Creation brings big crowds to town and the music gets cranked up, meaning not everyone will be happy. Damazio said Creation prompted 26 noise complaints to police this year, three fewer than in 2010. There were five other assorted complaints and three people were taken to the hospital with medical issues.

• the Highland Games again brought a bit of Scottish tradition and revelry for a weekend celebration. Damazio said there were two noise complaints stemming from the event and one guest was arrested for disorderly conduct, but the weekend was a hit, as always. There are two more years remaining on the current contract.

• the Olympic Kennel Club also has two more years remaining on a three-year pact. This year's event saw 8,400 dogs brought to the Expo Center during a four-day run, which was attended by 10,000 canine fanciers. Damazio said she has been told the only thing keeping the event from growing is the city's limited supply of hotel rooms. Despite that, she said, the Enumclaw event gets the attention of national Kennel Club people for the numbers it generates, the availability of both indoor and outdoor facilities and the on-site spaces for recreational vehicles.

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