28,000 attended 2015 fair in Carson City

Carson City’s Nevada Fair attracted 28,000 patrons and revenues exceeded the previous year’s Sesquicentennial version, but final results won’t come until November.

The 2016 fair, for which an internal city government ad hoc committee was initiating planning Wednesday even as members critiqued the 2015 version, could enhance marketing opportunities by co-branding as an attraction with the V&T Railway. That was the suggestion of Joel Dunn, executive director of the city’s Visitors Bureau, a member of the ad hoc group. He said such co-branding of themes gives him leverage.

“I can do more marketing,” said Dunn, whose focus is on bringing people into the city who must stay overnight in hotels or motels.

Dunn also provided mild push back when Susan Taylor, the fair‘s operational consultant, suggested more outside food vendors and fewer locals. She was unhappy with the time it took some local food vendors to serve folks when the fair was crowded, suggesting more professional fair food vendors be brought in from California.

Dunn made the point outside food vendors mean dollars spent in Carson City leave the local economy, while local vendors means they stay here and roll over to help the city. Scott Farhrenbruch, deputy director of the Parks and Recreation Department and chairman of the unofficial session at the Carson City Community Center, suggested a mix and balance of local and outside food vendors.

Fahrenbruch also said bus service to the fair went well, along with other aspects, but Wednesday’s meeting was to determine what can be improved for next year.

Though Taylor was upbeat about the 2015 fair’s attendance and receipts, Fahrenbruch said city government still was subsidizing the event. Taylor said in 2014, the Sesquicentennial fair at Fuji Park attracted 21,000 patrons compared with this year’s estimate of 28,000 or more. She said the carnival rides and vendors took in more this year than last, which meant the fair did as well.

The ad hoc unit also learned there were 40 more animals entered in 2015 than in 2014. Dunn was pleased with that, saying building livestock entries brings families from the region and outside it in Nevada to Carson City.

Fahrenbruch said a full report on fair revenues and an accounting of final expenses regarding this year’s fair would go to the Board of Supervisors during the board’s regular Nov. 19 meeting, at which the board may help give direction. The board has authorized a total of $170,000 in spending to put on the 2015 and 2016 fairs, he said, which means the final amount spent this year would determine how much is available for 2016.


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