County Fair takes on corporate sponsors
In an attempt to generate more revenue, the Leavenworth County Fair Board has agreed to take on corporate sponsorship.
The board agreed to a one-year deal with Lenexa-based American Bottling. The company paid the Fair Board $3,000 to provide all of the soft drinks and sports drinks to visitors to the Fair.
Some of the products offered by the company will be 7-Up, Royal Crown Cola and A&W Root Beer. There will also be some sport drinks such as Gatorade available, Fair Board officials said.
Before the deal, vendors at the Leavenworth County Fair had their choice in what products they would sell to visitors to the fair. Now, the Fair Board is asking everyone to participate in the American Bottling contract.
"We realize it is not going to be popular with everyone and we have heard some opposition," Leavenworth County Fair Board President David Todd said. "We just want everyone to give it a shot and see how it goes. The board has already stated publicly that if it doesn't work out we will go with something else."
The decision to switch to corporate sponsorship did not come easily for the Fair Board, Todd said.
"We had discussed the switch for some time," Todd said. "This is the first time we have had corporate sponsorship. We tried it last year with the Boy Scouts stand in the grand stand area and it went well."
Although some vendors may not be happy with the decision, Todd said switching to the company should make selling the soft drinks easier on the vendors.
He said the company would provide delivery of the products to the vendor stands and take orders from the vendors on the amount of soft drinks needed.
"They will provide a refrigerated truck with the bottled products in it," Todd said. "They will also provide manpower for the vendors at the Fair."
The decision to use corporate sponsorship was one the Fair Board made to generate more revenue for the upkeep of the Leavenworth County Fair grounds.
The Leavenworth County Fair Board is a non-profit organization. The Fair Board is responsible for putting on the Fair, but the only outside money the board receives is a small amount from Leavenworth County commissioners.
The donation from the commissioners amounts to one-third of the board's total expenses. The board does receive some money from charging admissions to the demolition derby, rodeo and some other events at the Fair, but there is always a need to generate more revenue, Todd said.
"A lot of people don't understand that and think we are some government entity," Todd said. "The amount of money the actual taxpayer gives to the Fair is a miniscule amount."
For this year's fair, the board has chosen to use the corporate sponsorship, but the use of the bottling company depends on the success of this year.
"I sure hope it works," Todd said. "We had a lot of discussions and said we'll never know unless we try it."