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Tourism awards $2,000 to Logan County Fair

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[April 25, 2014]  Tuesday evening, the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County voted to award a $2,000 grant to the Logan County Fair so that they may increase their advertising budget for this year's featured entertainment event.

The fair is scheduled to take place July 27 through Aug. 3, which is a few days longer than in the past. Dave Irwin was on hand Tuesday night and talked to the tourism group about the extended days of the fair for this year.

Irwin said, first of all, the fair as we know it from the past is not going to change. The general events, carnival rides and such will still not start until Tuesday, July 29. The extra days, Sunday and Monday, are being added to accommodate horse racing only.

The fair board decided to make this change to accommodate the horse racing features and at the same time, to have ample time to set up the grandstand events at the end of the week, such as the country music show on Saturday night. Irwin said those shows have gotten large enough that he, as the one in charge of it, really needs an entire day to get ready.

In regard to his request for funding, Irwin said he was asking for $5,000 so the fair could increase advertising to areas beyond local media. He provided the board with a list of television and radio stations that he wants to advertise with, and explained how they exceed the 50-mile radius that is required for tourism to support the request.

He also provided them with information regarding overnight stays in local motels. He said he had contacted the Hampton Inn and the Holiday Inn Express only and had gotten the number of overnight stays in those two motels alone.

On the application, he said the number of overnight stays was 550 during the full week of the fair. Irwin noted this was a conservative figure because he had reduced it from the number he was given by the Hampton and Holiday Inn, and it also did not include any information from the other motels in town.

Before leaving the meeting, Irwin was asked what would happen if the tourism bureau denies the request; would the fair have to scale back on advertising? Irwin said it would. The dollars being requested will allow the fair to increase advertising, but in the budget there are a lot of expenses for the fair, and making up what they don't get from the bureau would be pretty difficult.

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Later in the evening, after Irwin had left, the board discussed what to do with the request.

Tom O'Donohue pointed out that Irwin had provided all the important information needed, including how the fair affects motel stays. Andy Anderson thought, though, that a request for $5,000 was quite a bit.

In addition, it was discussed as to whether tourism had ever offered support to the fair. One member stated that the fair had made a request a few years ago and it was denied. On the other hand, Nancy Saul pointed out that the tourism bureau does advertise in the annual fair book and also purchases a booth at the fair.

Keith Snyder wondered if the bureau could give the fair some money and also measure whether or not it had an effect on overnight stays. Jean Bruner-Jachino said she could produce numbers for fair week from 2012 and 2013. The bureau could then look at numbers for 2014 and compare them to see if there was an increase in overnight stays.

The bureau agreed they would want to see that.

In the end, the board voted unanimously with all members present to award the fair $2,000 as a test for this year. They also want to know if they can get their booth fee included in that amount. Snyder also mentioned that the bureau should specify that the money has to be used for specific advertising outside the 50-mile radius of Lincoln. The bureau needs this specification because the money they are awarding comes from a grant they receive annually. That grant specifies that advertising dollars must be spent outside the 50-mile radius.

This year, the Logan County Fair will feature Thomas Rhett and Brushville at the Saturday night country music show. Tickets for the show are now available online and can be purchased through the Logan County Fair website at


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