Garfield County Fair success merits awards from Western Fairs Association
February 8, 2016
GARFIELD COUNTY, CO – Garfield County Fair & Rodeo has received several national awards for elements from its promotional strategy for the fair. Western Fairs Association has honored Garfield County Fair’s logo with a first place award, the fair website with a second place award, a fair television commercial with second place, and third place for the fair’s 2015 poster in the category of fairs with 50,000 attendance or less.
Founded in 1922 and incorporated in 1945, Western Fairs Association (WFA) is a nonprofit trade association serving the fair industry throughout the western United States and Canada. The primary objective of Western Fairs Association is to promote the prosperity of fairs through educational activities, training programs, and legislative advocacy. Western Fairs serves more than 800 members, representing fair-related businesses, fair management, fair board directors, festivals, and industry associations.
Garfield County Fair and Events Coordinator Doreen Herriott professionally manages all aspects of the highly successful Garfield County Fair. Success achieved through coordination and marketing of the fair include:
• In 2015, sponsors donated $56,900 in cash, an increase of 58 percent from 2014. The in-kind donations totaled $64,428, which brought the total sponsor amount to $121,328, for a total increase of 33 percent.
• 2015 total event ticket sales were $121,795 compared to $93,980 in 2014, an increase of 30 percent. The Gary Allan concert was the most successful concert to date at the fair.
• CSU Extension reports a large increase in the number of new 4-H/FFA members, with 50 new young people registering in 2015, of which 45 enrolled again this year, and already 59 new members enrolling thus far in 2016.
• The fair hosted two Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) sanctioned events, ProRodeo and Xtreme Bulls. For the first time ever, the Garfield County Fair & Rodeo had a national sponsorship for both events, Coors, as an official PRCA sponsor. These rodeos were featured in national coverage on RFD-TV, a national rural America network.
• The fair is directed by an all-volunteer fair board, of which the dedicated members contribute time during the entire year annually to its production, and fair partners coordinate additional activities and elements of the fair, such as the Junior Livestock Committee, the Open Class operations and the fair parade. The fair began an official Volunteer Program to track hours and reward volunteers, with a total of 112 volunteers, working a total of 2,334 hours at the fair in 2015.
• The 4-H/FFA livestock auction continues to be one of the top livestock auctions in the state. Total sales reached $380,349.
The award-winning Garfield County Fair logo was originally a concept of and designed by Glen Hobbs of LogoBoom, under a contract the fair had with Watermark Advertising in Denver in 2010. Garfield County Chief Communications Officer Renelle Lott modified it slightly in celebration of the fair’s 75th anniversary in 2013 to add a running horse to its current look, and coordinated initial design and creative development of the branding of the current fair promotional material designs and the initial development of the website. Lott captured the PRCA ProRodeo and Xtreme bulls video featured on RFD-TV, and Garfield County Website Specialist David Suminski edited the footage for the national rural television network.
The Garfield County Fair website, www.garfieldcountyfair.com, carries updates of the fair’s operations year-round, is busiest during summer months, and especially the week of the fair. It had 48,850 pageviews in 2015 by nearly 14,000 visitors – approximately one third of the adults in the county, and had 62% new users. Page design, sponsor coordination and updates to the site have been primarily managed by Garfield County Website Specialist Brett Morrison. Garfield County Communications Coordinator Sean Strode assisted with writing and organization of the fair website’s many topics and sponsor support features. Morrison designed the fair poster, as well as many of the ancillary publications and promotions for the fair, in coordination with photography, writing and design creative aspects from the full Garfield County Communications Department staff.
The award-winning television commercial was developed by Josh Meuwly of 970PRO, under contract with KREX-TV in Grand Junction, a fair sponsor.
The fair’s success is directly attributable to support and investment in the fair by the Board of County Commissioners. In addition to hiring an internal fair and events coordinator as a county staff employee and supplementing the fair’s annual budget, the board also established the county’s communications department in 2012 to enhance transparency for county operations. The BOCC implemented approximately $4.6 million in improvements to the Garfield County Fairgrounds between 2013-15. Upgrades include paved parking lots, new stalls, a rubber paver equestrian trail, a commercial kitchen and many other features.
Other county staff members which also contribute extensive time to the fair’s success each year work in the county fairgrounds operations, facilities, finance, road and bridge, and information technology departments and divisions.
Fair dates for 2016 are August 1-7.