Rainy weather turned last year's Washington County Fair into a financial disaster.
Two of the four days were complete wash outs. Last year's fair lost about $40,000, according to fair officials. Income from admissions is normally around $160,000 with the cost of putting on the four-day event around $100,000.
But, thanks to optimistic and dedicated members of the county fair board, plans are under way for this year's fair from Sept. 1 to 4.
Admission to this year's fair will remain at $8, the same charge as in 2011. The board resisted hiking the price to make up for last year's losses and we think that's a good move.
The fair is a Washington County family tradition with rides, agriculture-related projects and daily grandstand events. And don't forget all that midway food, another county fair tradition.
Ironically, the fair is being helped financially by the local oil and gas industry boom. Pipeline workers paid to have their campers parked at the fairgrounds, generating unanticipated income during the winter for the fair board. Around 26 campers paid $275 a month for full service at the fairgrounds from October to June.
Sandra Hickey, treasurer, said the fair board will be able to pay its bills, but would like to have about $20,000 on hand at the start of this year's fair. We wish them good luck.
Meanwhile, the board is looking for some new members. We also wish them good luck with recruiting new members. Obviously, it's a tough job, but an important one in Washington County where thousands can make plans to enjoy a Labor Day weekend tradition at the fairgrounds.