Local agricultural fairs, dating as far back as the 1600s, were important for trade, competition, and highlighting American culture. Fairs today carry on these same traditions. Each year, people of all ages gather at the local fairgrounds to show their prized exhibits, participate in contests, enjoy musical entertainment, learn about agriculture, and interact with others from the community.
Pennsylvania is the proud home to 110 agricultural fairs attended by more than 5.5 million fairgoers each year. Not only do fairs support agriculture and tourism, Pennsylvania’s number one and two industries, respectively, they are also essential to local commerce.
Unfortunately, many Pennsylvania fairs’ very existences are being threatened with increasing state budget cuts. Just 10 years ago, funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture for distribution among the state’s county and community fairs was $4.4 million. That number dropped to $2 million in 2009, and was as low as $971,000 just last year. As of June 30, 2012, the state budget passed with funding back up to $2 million; however, the instability of state funding has left many fairs scrambling to obtain funds elsewhere. Local businesses have stepped up to the task of helping their community fairs stay in business.
Read the full article in September’s issue of Transactions Magazine. Aren’t a subscriber? Visit the Transactions page on this website or call PACB at 717-231-7447 to start receiving the magazine.