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What did postponing the fair cost Kern County?

"We currently have a pretty positive outlook"
Kern County Fair
Posted at 5:06 PM, May 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-19 21:00:14-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — 23ABC is taking a deep dive into the Kern County Fair and why organizers decided to postpone the event.

The decision was in part due to an ongoing contract between the county and the fair board which says the fairgrounds must be used as a vaccination site.

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But what is the financial impact this move could have on Kern County?

According to Ally Triolo, chief communications officer at Kern County Administrative Office: "In Kern County’s case, this lease started in May of 2020 at a rate of $150,000 per month through December 2020, for a total of $1,200,000. Beginning in January 2021, this monthly lease amount was reduced to $30,000 per month. Through June 2021 this brings the total lease payments to $1,380,000. The extension of this lease from July 2021 through September 2021 will maintain the $30,000 per month rate. Through September 2021 these leases will provide $1,470,000 in revenue to the Association with, no associated cost to them."

So how does this compare to revenue generated from the Kern County Fair in a normal year?

Some previous Fair Board agendas showed a $7.7 million return in 2018. In 2019, the fair brought in $8.3 million in revenue. But according to those same documents, a 2014 study showed an economic spending impact of more than $39 million for Kern County.

Any money that the fair loses, can also be offset by the state. According to Chelsey Roberts with the Kern County Fair and Event Center: "In Governor Newsom’s budget revise, he allocated $40 mil for California fairs to assist with layoffs and a thoughtful transition out of state service. Because of this, we were able to cover a lot of our bills that were associated with the layoffs. We also qualified and received an SBA PPP Loan last year that has now been forgiven."

Blodgie Rodriguez, chairwoman of the Kern County Fair Board of Directors, issued the following statement to 23ABC: “We are thankful that our financial situation isn't bleak as we anticipated at the beginning of the pandemic last year. With funding from the Governor, the County of Kern, and our forgiven PPP loan, our CEO has positioned our organization to sustain operations through these unprecedented times. We are tremendously thankful for our CEO and staff and all of their hard work. “

Roberts added, "Because we are hoping to have a smaller festival later this year, we currently have a pretty positive outlook on our financials."