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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