Tooele County forced to cancel its 2013 fair
Budget shortfalls • Lack of funds, recent layoffs led to decision.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

The Tooele County Fair, a community tradition for about 60 years, won't be held this year due to lack of funds and shrinking staff.

"Money and employees were the two main factors that led the Tooele County Fair Board to make that unanimous decision," the County's Public Information Officer Wade Mathews said Wednesday.

A statement released Tuesday evening said that Fair Board Chairman Mark McKendrick and the county commissioners "feel terrible" about nixing the early August weekend event that has unfolded annually for six decades.

Since 1999, the event has been held at the Deseret Peak Complex, but earlier this month, 23 county employees from the county's Parks and Recreation and Building Maintenance divisions were laid off due to budget shortfalls.

"There are no workers there," Mathews said of the recreation complex, noting that leagues that signed up to use ball fields have also committed to watering and maintaining those areas themselves.

However, a few events connected with the Fair will still occur, Mathews said. Those include the Junior Livestock Show, 4-H Exhibits and possibly the Demolition Derby, which serves as a fundraiser for the Tooele County Sheriff's Search and Rescue.

"The fair board recognizes that the Junior Livestock Show and 4-H Exhibits are about the youth in our community," Mathews said, noting they want to continue to provide that "much needed support."

The livestock show has its own board and will still be held the first weekend in August, Mathews said, while the 4-H Exhibits, which are run by Utah State University's Extension Service, could be adjusted in terms of date and location.

The Tooele County Sheriff's Office will determine whether the demolition derby happens this year, Mathews said.

The decision to cancel applies only to 2013's fair, Mathews added, and will be revisited again next year.

cmckitrick@sltrib.com

Twitter: @catmck