•  wvscott
  • 62% (Friendly)
  • Foreman Topic Starter
Tuesday, February 16, 2021 8:26:06 AM
below is from an article yesterday in the Baltimore Sun that describes the deterioration of the fairgrounds:

" The Maryland State Fairgrounds are a “shambles,” according to the people who run the Timonium site, in desperate need to remove lead paint peeling from the grandstand and renovate century-old pipes.

But money is a problem for the Maryland State Fair and Agricultural Society, the nonprofit organization that manages the fair. The coronavirus pandemic canceled last year’s state fair and cost the society nearly 80% of its expected revenue.

“The carnival midway used for COVID testing and vaccination collapsed two weeks ago with yet another busted water pipe,” said Barry Williams, a board member.

The state fair society thinks a coveted sports betting license could bring in steady revenue needed to for repairs that will cost “many millions” of dollars to complete, said Gerry Brewster, chair of the board since 2017.

‘The largest fair in the State’
Once bustling with “flivvers, limousines, busses, buggies and trains,” as described by a 1925 Baltimore Sun article, the state fair began on 4 acres of land in 1878 as the Lutherville Fair, emerging as the most popular among other Baltimore-area fairs that ultimately fizzled.

The construction of a North Central Railroad extension caused fair managers, who in 1879 incorporated the Agricultural Society for Baltimore County, to relocate the fair to its current destination off York Road.

With 45,000 attendees by 1938, a Sun article that year declared the annual event “the largest fair in the State.”

In 1953, the nonprofit group was formed to manage the fair, taking over the grounds from the Maryland Jockey Club.

But as the fairgrounds grew from a 37-acre plot to more than 100 acres over a century and its managers added buildings, the upkeep of the grounds and its now 42 buildings grew daunting.

“When you’re at the same location for 141 years — and you’re a nonprofit — you tend to try to repair things cosmetically and not structurally, because you don’t have the money,” Brewster said. “You try to devote your limited resources … to fulfilling your mission. What takes a back seat, unfortunately, is your facilities.”

A bad situation made worse
As the 12-day Maryland State Fair, which runs from the end of August to early September, has become more expensive to organize, its profits have fallen since 2016, Internal Revenue Service tax filings published by ProPublica show.

From 2011 to 2012, the Maryland State Fair and Agriculture Society brought in nearly $1.5 million in net income. From 2017 to 2018, the nonprofit lost more than $464,000, according to tax documents.

Having canceled the fair organization’s primary moneymaker in 2020, profits by the third quarter of that year were down by 78%, or $4.7 million, compared with 2019, Brewster said.

The pandemic “made a bad situation worse,” Brewster said. But through Baltimore County, the nonprofit received federal CARES Act dollars for some coronavirus-related costs “that enabled us to survive.”

The state fair society gets its capital funding from the General Assembly, receiving roughly $500,000 a year for critical repairs, according to West and Brewster.

One major upgrade was made without state assistance: an installation of more than 7,000 solar panels in 2020, supplying 85% of the campus’ total energy consumption; Brewster expects the switch to solar to amount to a $1.2 million savings over the next 15 years."

they are trying to get sports betting passed to fund improvements. not sure what this means for the fair if they don't
Saturday, February 20, 2021 5:03:37 AM
Its sad that our states can support and put money towards all kinds of nonsense and left wing agenda's, but they can't support a long serving fair that draws a lot of people, has a rich history, and adds to the local economy.