County fronts some money for fair and 4-H

The King County Fair, which appeared dead when no money was included in the county’s 2010 budget, has been given new life.

As part of a fourth-quarter appropriation, members of the King County Council last week announced they had allocated $50,000 for a 2010 fair and $109,000 for 4-H.

As part of the formal 2010 budget, 4-H had received no funding.

The county’s cash allocation is far below the $311,000 provided for 2009, when the city of Enumclaw agreed to put on the event under the name of Enumclaw’s King County Fair. Blessed with sunny skies, the July fair drew bigger-than-expected numbers and turned a small profit for the city.

The momentum that had been built, however, came crashing down when members of the county council put no money toward a 2010 fair. The city of Enumclaw called a halt to whatever plans it was making.

With the recent news, the city is in fair mode again, according to Parks and Recreation Director Larry Fetter. His department manages the Enumclaw Expo Center and put on the 2009 edition of the fair.

“We’ll do something, provided our council wants to go for it,” Fetter said, explaining nothing will happen without a formal agreement between Enumclaw and the county.

There are two options, Fetter said – a spring fair or an August fair.

The traditional fair days in July have been awarded to Creation Fest, a four-day, Christian-themed event of music and more.

Putting on a spring fair in April is the more likely option, Fetter said. The limited money means there would be less spent on advertising and entertainment than was spent in 2009, Fetter said, and there would be a greater need for local volunteers.

If the 4-H community doesn’t like a spring fair, “we could still do an August event,” Fetter said.

Members of 4-H and FFA have traditionally used the King County Fair as a qualifying event for the larger Puyallup Fair.

Despite the late notice, Fetter believes the city could still put together a fair that is small, but still possessing traditional fair attributes, like a carnival.

The key, he said, is to accept the $50,000 from the county and convince 4-H to contribute.

Beyond that, Fetter knows the council will want some assurance the fair can break even, at least.

“I would never put together a program that would lose money,” he said.

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