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The Benton Franklin Fair: Community Impact

The Benton Franklin Fair Association is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization which produces the annual Benton Franklin Fair & Horse Heaven Round-Up rodeo each August.

In 2022, 117,597 people attended the five-day Fair.

The Fair Association is supported by four year-round employees, a Board of Directors of 13, and more than 500 volunteers. The Fair directly hires an additional 143 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 $175,000 plus utilities and improvements. The Fair Association receives no tax support from Federal, State, County or City sources.

The Fair Association and its staff participate in events year-round. The association hosts anti-bullying assemblies at area schools, reaching 4,520 students annually. Each of those students received a free ticket to the Fair. The Fair supports the Mid-Columbia and Richland libraries Summer Reading Programs, providing 4,500 admission tickets to children who complete the challenge. The Fair provides youth tickets to local law enforcement to distribute at National Night Out, Boys & Girls Clubs and other events. Fair staff educates youngsters about agriculture, reaching 400 5th-graders at Farm Fair each March.

The Fair Association supports a large number of community groups as a sponsor or host. These include:

  • Nonprofit food booths earned $101,205 for their initiatives at this year’s Fair.
  • Service groups earned $37,490 for their initiatives at this year’s Fair.
  • Sponsorships and donations for community fund-raisers: $37,041.
  • Scholarships: $7,500 annually
  • Breast cancer: the Fair has donated more than $200,000 in the past 15 years for preventative care and treatment for women without insurance in our community.
  • American Red Cross: the Fair sponsored two blood drives yielding blood donations with the potential to save 387 lives.
  • 2nd Harvest: the Fair donates a portion of opening day ticket sales to combat food insecurity in our community. The Fair has provided 130,809 pounds of food for children, families and seniors in need in over the past 14 years. In 2022, the Fair also provided 1,000 free admission tickets for families at the 2nd Harvest Drive Thru food distribution event at the fairgrounds in August.
  • Sponsor of “Build-A-Bed-Feed-A-Family” raised garden beds built by the Master Gardener Foundation of Benton & Franklin counties in the Habitat for Humanity development in Pasco.
  • Sponsorships: Tri-City Dust Devils; Columbia Basin Junior Livestock Show; Mariachi & More Festival; Junior Achievement.
  • Entrepreneurs: Provided space for local makers and entrepreneurs to market their products.

985 youth and adults entered 7,575 items in the Benton Franklin Fair in 2022. The Fair paid out more than $44,051 in prizes and cash for those exhibits.

Distributed 1,700 wristbands for the Safe Kids program with partner Benton REA.

The Market Stock Auction generated $1,264,548.66 for local 4-H and FFA members, making it the largest grossing youth livestock auction in the state.

The Fair produces an annual parade in downtown Kennewick, with 3,000 spectators and 2,003 participants.

597 educators received free fair admission on Educator Appreciation Day.

Three-hundred and six amateur entertainers performed during the Fair, and 123 competed in the cheerleading competition.

The Horse Heaven Round-Up Rodeo Ranked #20 out of more than 820 PRCA rodeos and events in the nation.

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