The Benton Franklin Fair Community Relevance
The Benton Franklin Fair Association is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization which produces the annual Benton Franklin Fair & Rodeo each August. The Fair Association receives no tax support from Federal, State, County or City sources.
119,930 people attended the five-day Fair in 2017.
The Fair Association has four full-time employees year-round, a Board of Directors of 20, and more than 500 volunteers. The Fair hires an additional 100 employees during the month of the event. The Fair Association does not own the fairgrounds but leases the facility for one month a year at a cost of $170,000 plus utilities and improvements.
The Fair Association and its staff participate in events year-round. In October, the Fair Association hosts anti-bullying assemblies at area schools, reaching 1,600 students. Each of those students receives a free admission ticket to the Fair. The Fair works with the Mid-Columbia Libraries system's Summer Reading Program, providing 5,000 admission tickets to those completing the program. Fair staff also use model milking cows to teach youngsters about agriculture, reaching 1,384 5th graders at Farm Fair each March.
The Fair Association supports a large number of community groups as a sponsor or host. These include:
- Service groups and churches hired to work at the fair earned $44,141
- Sponsorships and donations for community fund-raisers: $22,573
- Scholarships: $7,500 annually
- Breast cancer: the Fair has donated more than $158,000 in the past 11 years to area hospitals for preventative care and treatment for women without insurance
- Revenue for four service groups with food concessions at the Fair in 2017: $112,160
- A donation to 2nd Harvest provided 12,030 pounds of food for children, families and seniors in need in our community in 2017
- A showcase for the arts by sponsoring the Tri-Cities Painted Piano Project and the Boys and Girls Club of Benton and Franklin Counties Impact Percussion Group at the Fair.
- Partnering with the Kennewick Police Department Foundation to provide a donation of more than $1,200 to the Community Cares Fund.
1,347 youth and adults entered 9,901 items in the Benton Franklin Fair in 2017. The Fair paid out more than $52,000 in prizes and cash for those exhibits.
The Market Stock Auction generated more than $792,326 for local 4-H and FFA members. Many of those members use their money toward developing their livestock projects or their college educations. The small animal sale generated more than $27,000 for exhibitors.
The Fair produces an annual parade in downtown Kennewick, with 3,800 spectators and 1,835 participants.
1,047 amateur entertainers performed during the Fair.
198 businesses supported the Fair in 2017 providing $710,000 in sponsorship and more than $200,000 in in-kind donations.
The Kennewick Rodeo raised its added money (prize money contributed by the rodeo committee) to $20,000 per event, placing the rodeo in the Top 22 PRCA events in the nation. In 2017, it was named the Largest Rodeo of the Year by the Columbia River Circuit and won the prestigious Remuda Award from the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association for having the best bucking stock.