The Enumclaw Expo Center is receiving about $50,000 from King County, but that’s only a tenth of how much money the organization has lost due to COVID-19. Image courtesy Enumclaw Expo Center

The Enumclaw Expo Center is receiving about $50,000 from King County, but that’s only a tenth of how much money the organization has lost due to COVID-19. Image courtesy Enumclaw Expo Center

Expo Center receives King County COVID funds

The funds will be used to support local restaurants and put on some holiday events.

The Enumclaw Expo Center is one of biggest cogs in city’s economic machine — so when it was unable to host any of its summer events, from the Highland Games to the the annual Pro Rodeo, the lack of crowds and shoppers made its mark on the Plateau.

To help the Expo Center recover some funds and keep it running though these unprecedented times, the King County Council has granted $49,500 to the event center as part of the county’s fourth COVID-19 Omnibus budget.

“I’m glad to be able to support the Enumclaw community as they find creative ways to adapt to safety and health requirements,” King County Councilman Reagan Dunn, who represents Enumclaw on the council and championed the grant, said in a press release. “It was a high priority for me to help get the Expo Center the funding it needs to make it through these tough economic times because the Enumclaw Expo plays a critical role as the host of mainstay community events, including King County Fair. This funding will go far in keeping treasured traditions alive.”

Nearly $50,000 could seem a like a lot of money to some, but it’s only a fraction of the money the Expo Center itself has lost, and a drop in the bucket when compared to how much business Expo Center events brings to the rest of the city.

“With a net income loss of over $500,000 in five months, Expo is extremely thankful for Councilmember Dunn supporting our efforts,” Enumclaw Expo Center General Manager Rene Popke said in the same press release. “Fair impact studies report that every dollar a fair takes in generates approximately $4.50 for the region. The ability to offer something at Expo gets us back to providing an economic boost to our surrounding communities. We know that Expo will be able to generate revenue again if we can get through this very unusual year, so we are beyond thankful for this bridge funding grant.”

The grant will go toward funding handwashing stations and outdoor tents in order to comply with social distancing guidelines, as well as drive-in theater equipment in order to continue hosting community events like the showing of “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” which is happening this Saturday, Sept. 12.

Tickets to the event are free, so if there’s still some to be had, you can reserve your spot at

The Expo Center is also planning to use some funding to rent additional tables and chairs for local restaurants as they expand into the streets to allow more people to dine out safely.

Besides continuing to plan drive-in movies, the Expo Center is hoping to host additional community events in the fall and winter, including a Hometown Holiday drive-through light display around the holiday season.

“With the cancellation of high profile and high revenue events, the grant provided to [the] Enumclaw Expo Center by the King County Council is greatly appreciated by our community and Expo Association,” Enumclaw Mayor Jan Molinaro said in the release. “This will assist the Expo Center to continue towards better times and the great events that they have hosted over the many years and decades like the King County Fair… I thank Councilmember Reagan Dunn and all other King County Councilmembers that supported the funding.”

Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 500 words or less.

More in News

File photo
Brief history of rats in the Puget Sound region – and the problem they present

Local exterminator noticed big change in rats over the past 40 years.

Sponsor of the motion to establish guidelines for the removal of encampments, Councilmember Reagan Dunn (courtesy of King County Council)
King County Council discusses policy for removal of homeless encampments

Still unclear what the standards will be, who will enforce it, and how jurisdictions will interact.

Mt. Rainier
Input sought regarding visitor use on Mount Rainier’s south side

Public can weigh in as National Park Service ponders visitor use at Nisqually-to-Paradise corridor.

The Enumclaw Youth Center, operated by the Y Social Impact Center in Enumclaw
Donations sought for kids heading back to school

Annual effort has started to provide back-to-school supplies to kids from low-income families.

Police lights
Enumclaw, Black Diamond police blotter | July 12 – July 22 |

DUIs, after-hours golfing and a found Labrador retriever

Andrew Bruce, instructor for Green River College's upcoming drone program, demonstrates the capabilities of one of his racing drones using a smartphone app outside the Enumclaw Green River campus. Photo by Alex Bruell
Drone racing, ethical hacking and more: Green River instructors want to train “cutting edge” students

Green River College in Enumclaw will offer new drone aviation, cybersecurity programs next year

A University of Washington-themed birdhouse, complete with a husky, is one of several birdhouses available at Arts Alive’s silent auction.
Arts Alive holding silent auction for student scholarships

Bids for colorful birdhouses must be submitted by Aug. 9

The crowd at the 2018 Midsummer Festival. (Michael Grace-Dacosta photo)
At a glance | August 2021 events

Rodeo, car shows and more

Elaine Simons, former foster mother of Jesse Sarey, addresses a crowd outside the Maleng Regional Justice Center on Aug. 24, 2020, moments after Auburn Police Officer Jeff Nelson was formally charged with second-degree murder and first-degree assault in the May 31, 2019, shooting death of 26-year-old Sarey in front of a north Auburn convenience store. File photo
Supreme Court rules officers can be compelled to testify about killings

In a joint lawsuit against King County, the Washington State Supreme Court… Continue reading

Most Read