Wyo State Fair attends convention, begins planning for 102nd fair in 2014
Casper – Following the Rocky Mountain Association of Fairs (RMAF) Convention, held on Nov. 13-16, Wyoming State Fair Director James Goodrich noted, “It was a really good event, and we had attendance from all over the region.”
The event hosted county and state fair representatives from 11 states throughout the Rocky Mountain region and in Canada.
“This convention was an all-encompassing event that looked at every aspect of the fair business,” said Goodrich. “It is a scaled-down version of the International Association of Fairs Exposition.”
Attending the RMAF Convention is important for both the Wyoming State Fair and the region’s events.
“One of the big components of the convention is the entertainment and attractions showcasing,” said Goodrich.
The showcase provides the opportunity for fair planners to visit with entertainers, see what is new and determine whether the act fits their event.
“The event showcase is a big part of the RMAF convention,” he added. “We have used these showcases for about 50 percent of our free stage acts, strolling acts and kid’s attractions.”
The remainder of Wyoming State Fair’s event planning comes from the International Association of Fairs Exposition and from local referrals.
The convention, Goodrich mentioned, also provide an important opportunity for networking.
“The networking portion of the event is very important,” he said. “It is important to get to know people in the business and the region, so we have someone that we can talk to about ideas, events and news within the business.”
Educational activities, meetings and interactive discussions provide an additional benefit to the event.
Goodrich recognized that the event will be beneficial for Wyoming’s State Fair for many reasons.
“We had a good rodeo panel discussion during the meeting,” he said. “We are going to look at some of the things we are doing with our rodeo, based on those discussions.”
He also noted that the discussions on hiring entertainment were important and helpful.
“There was some good information that we will probably use,” he said.
On Nov. 18, Wyoming Governor Matt Mead visited the Wyoming State Fairgrounds for an update on current projects and to look toward the future.
Goodrich adds that the visit was beneficial. While more time to visit more sites would have been ideal, the group enjoyed the chance to tour projects being finished across the grounds.
“We hit those spots to address the needs and concerns that have been expressed by our staff, attendees and exhibitors,” Goodrich says. “We also touched slightly on future planning.”
He further notes that they have also begun long range planning efforts.
“We identified that we need to update our long-range plan and start looking at where those needs will be in the next few years,” he says.
For the 2014 event, Goodrich comments that they have already begun working on options to improve the Wyoming State Fair.
“We have been working on making changes that we need to in the schedule,” he says. “We’ve been working on getting our 2013 fair wrapped up, getting the premiums paid and awards distributed.”
The Wyoming State Fair staff has also worked to fine tune the schedule and concentrate on establishing a strong lineup of children and family entertainment for the fair.
At the same time, Goodrich adds that they are working to line up the entertainment.
“We plan to announce our highlighted entertainment by the end of this year,” he says. “We’re looking ahead to 2014 and excited for it.”
Saige Albert is managing editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.