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State budget cuts could target community fairs

January 12, 2012

In what has become a yearly tradition, community fair organizers have begun fretting about the state’s financial commitment to the events.
With the Legislature looking to close a $3 billion budget shortfall this spring, the $2 million the state spends on fair funding is on the chopping block.
Clayton Community Fair Manager Janice Purdy said her event receives about $3,000 a year in state funds. That money must be used for youth premium awards, ribbons and trophies.
The cutback will not have severe affect on the fair, Purdy added, because of donations the fair receives from other community businesses and individuals.
Any state funding cutbacks will have a greater effect on county fairs.
The Northeast Washington Fair in Colville receives about $30,000 a year in state funds, Purdy explained, and the Interstate Fair in Spokane is substantially higher than that.
Fair officials from across the state tried to make legislators aware of the importance of fairs to youngsters and local economies with a “Legislative Day” on Friday. The success of their efforts will not be known until later this year when the Legislature starts making cuts to balance the budget.

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