The utilization of fairgrounds, past, present, and future in five western states
Shockley, Andrea Erin
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A written survey instrument was designed and distributed to determine the utilization of fairgrounds, past, present, and future in five western states (Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, & Wyoming). Better stated as a question, what was, is, and will be the importance of fairgrounds? Six hundred twenty-two surveys were sent out to Fair/grounds Managers, County Extension Agents, County Commissioners, and fair board members within the five state region. One hundred thirteen surveys were returned. All responses were entered into Microsoft Excel ® and analyzed to determine how many respondents out of the one hundred thirteen answered each question for each particular answer choice. Although answers varied greatly for many of the questions asked and many respondents chose to comment where they could, those comments were mostly positive and the outlook for fairgrounds is positive. Many of the respondents indicated great community support and the demand for more events and more diversity in events. Even those counties having a decline in their population indicated strong support. Most fairgrounds are still county owned and operated, however financial support is changing as support increases and facilities improve. Many respondents indicated a want and need to improve structures and facilities and also included many comments about what has already been done or what improvements are planned for the future. One use of fairgrounds that has thus far been underutilized, from survey response, is the exploitation of fairgrounds as part of county disaster plans. The respondents also indicated that although not many of them are using the fairgrounds right now as part of such a plan, it would be feasible for the grounds to be used as part of a disaster plan. As fairgrounds continue to improve and expand events the community support will continue to grow as long as those involved with the fairgrounds keep a positive outlook at changing with the times.