Budget wont bust fairs blue ribbons

first_imgCome August, a blueberry pie — or tomato or macramé wall hanging — worthy of a blue ribbon will still receive a blue ribbon at the Clark County Fair, as well as a very modest cash prize.Despite the threat of losing state money, which traditionally has been used for prize premiums and ribbons, Clark County Fair Manager John Morrison said last week he will redo his budget if necessary to ensure that winning exhibits are adorned and winning exhibitors are paid.As the top-ranked fair in Washington, a status the county has enjoyed for seven straight years, the county was on track to receive approximately $98,000 from the state, Morrison said.That’s out of $2 million the state Department of Agriculture distributes to approximately 70 county, community and youth fairs, said Val Watson, president of the Washington State Fairs Association.Watson, in a Jan. 17 press release, said that Gov. Chris Gregoire’s 2011-13 budget reduces the fair fund from $2 million a year to $500,000.Watson said representatives of 50 fairs responded to a survey; 56 percent said their fairs would not survive if the fair fund was eliminated. Nearly all (92 percent) of the respondents said premiums for exhibitors would be “severely reduced or eliminated.”Morrison, who with other fair representatives will meet with lawmakers on Thursday, isn’t overly concerned about losing the money. He said he’ll understand if the remaining funds are distributed to smaller fairs that rely on the state money.last_img