State Fair plans to make big changes after audit

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PUEBLO, Colo. — The Colorado State Fair losing money for the past 21 years, according to a state Department of Agriculture audit.

The numbers were released from the state at the beginning of November. The state has been auditing the fair since 2018.

The state’s audit found the state fair was losing an average of $4 million each year between 2014-2018.

The State Fair General Manager Scott Stoller said that doesn’t take into account the city, county and state funding they also receive.

“The fair has cash reserves, it’s not like we have large debt on the books somewhere,” said Stoller.

The audit also said that none of the 57 buildings on the fairgrounds met the State Architect’s standards, and 14 buildings on the grounds are in “poor” or “less than poor” condition.

The audit also said that about $1.1 million spent annually on marketing does not appear to be cost-effective.

It also pointed out in the offseason, they aren’t renting the buildings for the set price and said they have given inconsistent discounts to renters of fairground facilities, resulting in $920,675 less revenue in 2018.

>>>See full report here.

Stoller said they’ll take this information and improve.

“Some of our biggest offseason revenue national street rod show, RV business but we are entering this review with an open eye, and maybe there is something we are completely missing, that’s the benefit of having independent reviews of the organization,” said Stoller. “You can be the best company in the world and independent audit will still find, things you can work on.”

Stoller believes he and his staff now have a sense of direction.

“[An opportunity for] clarity on what work needs to be in the next few years to make sure very thing is aligned and moving forward properly in the future,” Stoller said.

Senator Leroy Garcia sent a statement about the report saying:

“Attendance at the 2019 Colorado State Fair grew by 5 percent to a total of 466,380 visitors. Revenue generated during the fair topped $5.1 million. I think to have one-sided conversations in which the State Fair is always on the target list is just not fair to me. We had record attendance, we had great sponsorship, it’s become a great area for families to enjoy and celebrate.”

Senator Garcia

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