Carson City is getting out of the fair business.
The Carson City Board of Supervisors voted Thursday to discontinue the Nevada Fair, a free-admission event focused on livestock and agriculture and put on in Fuji Park by the city the last two years.
The fair was losing money, according to Roger Moellendorf, director of Carson City Parks and Recreation.
Despite carrying over about $25,000 from 2014 to 2015 and turning a small profit of $5,000 last year, the event was dependent on seed money from the city, so far totaling $135,000, as well as donated time from city staff equal to about $73,000 in 2015.
And now a competing event is coming to town.
“I thought the fair was extremely well received. I never heard anything but good things about it. I do worry that as the world goes faster and faster, we lose sight of the value of going back to livestock, raising your own food, the things 4H and Future Farmers of America do. I am not opposed to closing the fair, but I’d like a sense from this board that what 4H and Future Farmers of America do is important to this community.”Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell
The Nevada State Fair, which has been dormant since 2010, is being hosted again, this time at Mills Park, June 9-12, about six weeks before the city was scheduled to put on its event.
“When Nevada State Fair LLC approached us I saw it as a good opportunity for us to transition out of the fair business. I don’t think cities do fair business well,” Nick Marano, Carson City manager, said. “We’re not giving Nevada State Fair any money or staff time. It is a purely privately-run affair.”
Initially, the city had hoped the Nevada State Fair would come to the capital, said Moellendorf. But when the event wasn’t revived for a few years, the city went ahead and hosted its own.
The events are not completely alike. The Nevada State Fair plans to feature carnival rides, a car show, the Rendezvous Civil War reenactment and a petting zoo.
The Nevada Fair, on the other hand, offered some of that, including Civil War re-enactors, but featured 4H and Future Farmers of America livestock shows.
Mayor Bob Crowell and other supervisors voiced concerns the livestock events would fall off the calendar if the city dropped its fair.
“I thought the fair was extremely well received. I never heard anything but good things about it,” Crowell said. “I do worry that as the world goes faster and faster, we lose sight of the value of going back to livestock, raising your own food, the things 4H and Future Farmers of America do.
“I am not opposed to closing the fair, but I’d like a sense from this board that what 4H and Future Farmers of America do is important to this community.”
Moellendorf suggested the city work with the operators of the Nevada State Fair to incorporate the livestock and agriculture events into future state fairs.
The supervisors voted to cancel and no longer hold the Nevada Fair and for staff to facilitate discussions with “interested parties,” that may include Nevada State Fair LLC, to find another venue in which to continue the livestock and agriculture events in coming years.