Expo Center requires fees for Eau Claire County Youth Fair

(WEAU) - The Expo Center requires that non-profit and for-profit organizations pay a fee to use the grounds.

"What’s happened over time we have a facility that's 15 years old," said Mahlon Peterson of the UW-Extension.

The Eau Claire County Youth Fair has been around since 1924.

The fair is sponsored by the 4-H Youth Development Program and it is open to the public.

But the Expo Center is looking to help its facility stay in operation

One way is reducing the number of setup and cleanup days from 10 to about 7.

"Because that's a non-mandated area like many of the other fair grounds and such throughout the state, it’s not a high priority on county services," said Colleen Bates, Fair Committee member.

Mahlon says that the Expo Center was looking to cut cost which is why the UW-Extension helped with this plan.

"The Expo Center Commission asked us to come up with some recommendations, we did that for both 4-H and the fair," said Mahlon.

A recommendation that was put into place was to charge for-profit and non-profit organizations for renting space.

"Both the 4-H and the fair have agreed to a contract where they pay 1/3 of 1/3," said Mahlon.

This means that a for-profit organization renting a concession stand would pay 120 dollars per day, but a non-profit rate would be 104 dollars.

Peterson says 4-H is paying even less and using equipment such as chairs and tables for free.

“Because of their status of being a non profit constitute group, that particular fee is cut significantly," said Colleen.

If 4-H was a for-profit organization wanting to host the fair it would have cost them about 20 thousand dollars but instead they are paying about five thousand dollars for the fair's run in July.

But one 4-H parent said they still feel they're losing support from the county.


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  • by 4-H Parent Location: Eau Claire on Apr 20, 2012 at 04:27 AM
    I agree it is very unfortunate that this story got reported very one sided. WEAU did try to contact 4-H parents that day but due to the last minute nature of the story they were unable to contact someone to interview. I would encourage them to do so in the near future. This issue remains a very passionate one for 4-H youth. Although we all agree that all funding is short and budgets are hard to meet, we had hoped that the county board would see youth leadership and development as a priority and something worth investing in. My belief was and still is, we put how much money into the building of our new jail? They should have invested in the sustainance of 4-H seeing it as a way to prevent these young impressional people from visiting jail in the future. There is not another program in the US that teaches and supports community service, leadership, volunteerism , civial responsiblity and involvement. Charging for the fair grounds only takes away from the dollars need to continue offering these great opportunities. What are the fees to participate in a high school sport now days? 4-H remains one of the last affordable programs out there offered to families. Because of this it does not discriminate, anyone can join and participate. Support 4-H. Come to the Eau Claire County Fair this summer and see and feel the magic!
  • by 4-Her Location: Eleva on Apr 18, 2012 at 12:56 PM
    4-H is by far the one thing that has impacted my life the most. It has opened many doors and allowed me to go to many places such as New York, Washington DC and I will soon be to going to Atlanta Georgia. It scares me to see these prices and knowing that paying them is no easy task. If this continues, younger 4-Hers might not ever have the chance to go places and meet hundreds of great people like I and many others have. Please help 4-H in Eau Claire County by attending our fair this summer and learning more about the great things that 4-H has to offer.
    • reply
      by confused on Apr 18, 2012 at 05:39 PM in reply to 4-Her
      How does attending the fair help raise money for 4h? I don't remember seeing anything to purchase there.
      • reply
        by 4-H Member on Apr 19, 2012 at 09:42 AM in reply to confused
        We raise money at the youth fair thru sales of Food at 2 different food stands on the grounds, and also thru the Live animal auction held on Saturday evenings. This is a great showcase for the Youth of Eau Claire County 4-H members. Please attend, its highly underated by the Eau Claire County Board.
  • by parent of 4-H youth Location: Eleva on Apr 18, 2012 at 10:07 AM
    I am disappointed that funding is less. We are trying to come up with ideas to fund the fair fees that the expo center is requiring. I hate to see 4-H disappear due to fees and funding that has been cut. This is such a good program for youth. Each club are selling raffle tickets to help support the fair.
  • by 4-H parent Location: Eau Claire on Apr 18, 2012 at 07:00 AM
    Too bakd this story was only one-sided. It's sad to know that Eau Claire County does not support a positive youth development program.
  • by Catherine Location: Fall Creek on Apr 17, 2012 at 04:57 PM
    What ever happened to the money from the sale of the old fairground that was supposedly used to help purchase the expo center? My understanding is that should allow the fair to use the grounds once a year at no charge...
    • reply
      by confused again on Apr 18, 2012 at 05:40 PM in reply to Catherine
      Wasn't that a long time ago?
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