BUDGETING Annual expenditures add up to one big bill

Costs to maintain the Canfield Fair's facilities are a year-round concern.
CANFIELD -- Putting on a big bash like the Canfield Fair costs big bucks, and the expenses don't end on Labor Day.
"We have 72 buildings and five miles of roads to maintain," said Robert A. Rose, secretary-treasurer of the Canfield Fair board of directors. They must be maintained all year, along with the grounds, which cover 353 acres.
Amounts: Annual expenditures exceed $2.9 million -- more than the fair brings in -- so rentals for other events, such as the Hot Rod Super Nationals and Greater Youngstown Italian Fest, are essential to keeping the books in the black, Rose explained.
For the fiscal year that ran from Dec. 1, 1999, to Nov. 30, 2000, the largest outlays were for capital improvements, which totaled $717,786 and included construction of the arts and crafts building, a $67,000 project, construction of a $34,000 storage building in the parking lot, remodeling of the technology building, $30,000 worth of repaving and sealing, water and sewer upgrades, new stalls in the draft horse barn and roof replacements on two smaller barns, he reported.
Employee wages topped $650,000, and special attractions and shows booked for last year's fair cost almost $400,000. Other major expenditures were for utilities at $182,689, ground maintenance at $144,843, senior fair premiums, trophies and ribbons at $125,822, and advertising and printing at $112,567.
Earnings come from gate admissions, which totaled $905,408, concession privilege fees of $701,782, grandstand admissions of $432,480, and rentals of some $252,000.
"The swap meets are good moneymakers," he remarked. There also was some miscellaneous income from things such as contest entry fees, sponsorships, sales, utility expense reimbursement, state and county aid, and sale of memberships.
Ordinarily, annual expenditures for capital improvements average $400,000 to $500,000, Rose continued, but that varies depending on improvement projects.
"We've spent $2.7 million on capital improvements in the last five years," he said, and the board is discussing building a new coliseum at the southern end of the fairgrounds near the cattle complex.
New asset: The new building is expected to cost $500,000 and would be used to show cattle during the fair. It also would be rented out for various events, such as horse shows, throughout the year.
"You should never build unless you can rent the building out," Rose said. "Building a building that would be used just for four or five days during the fair would be a stupid move."
Renting it for other events, however, would help boost revenues so more money would be available to support the fair, he noted.
How much of the annual budget is allotted for capital improvements, entertainment, maintenance and other expenses partly depends on the receipts of the previous year, said Bev Fisher, fair manager.
Income can be affected by many variables, including the weather and popularity of the grandstand shows, she noted.
Luckily, the weather has been good for the fair the last few years, she said, and the grandstand shows have been popular.

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