NewsCovering Colorado


Colorado State Fair finances: a past and present look

Posted at 6:36 PM, Jul 23, 2019

PUEBLO — It's exactly one month until the start of the Colorado State Fair.

Instead of just previewing what's to come News 5 wanted to give an in-depth look at where the fair has been and where it's going, particularly from a business standpoint.

Scott Stoller, general manager of the Colorado State Fair, said the fair budget on an annual basis is around $10 million and it's financial position has improved recently. However, going back about six years, the fair was losing money.

Stoller said, "We were carrying about a million dollar debt with the state treasury."

It was a debt that the fair carried for about three years. Stoller shared that there were a few different factors and one of the biggest was "in 2015...some issues with trying to do a cashless system and it kind of hurt our attendance the next few years."

Attendance has also been impacted by weather and entertainment. Numbers from previous years have taken a hit due to weaker lineups and bad weather. The good news though, things have turned around.

"As of now we actually are a million dollars plus."

The cashless system idea was ditched and other changes have been made.

"We made a few cuts to the rodeo. Last year we reduced the number of days of rodeo just because they were not all well-attended...that was a huge financial savings."

When it comes to this year's entertainment lineup Stoller said acts will include "Aaron Watson and Granger Smith and then at the events center we really have a diverse lineup with Beach Boys the first night and then we go into a little modern rock with Halestorm, and then we have a big country act, Brett Young."

He said based on early ticket sales it's shaping up to be a pretty successful year.

Stoller said the fair is in the process of hiring a year-round sales manager to try and drive business and rent out the fairgrounds for bigger shows. The hope - to bring in more revenue to improve the fairgrounds.