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.
119,101 people attended the five-day Fair in 2019.
The Fair Association has four full-time employees year-round, a Board of Directors of 13, 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 $185,000 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 4,520 students in 2019. 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 5,465 admission tickets to those completing the program. The Fair provides youth tickets to local law enforcement to hand out at National Night Out and other events. Fair staff also use model milking cows to teach youngsters about agriculture, reaching 1,200 5th graders at Farm Fair each March.
The Fair Association supports a large number of community groups as a sponsor or host. These include:
- Nonprofits earned $135,997 for their causes at this year's fair
- Sponsorships and donations for community fund-raisers: $38,630
- Scholarships: $7,500 annually
- Breast cancer: the Fair has donated more than $178,000 in the past 12 years to area hospitals for preventative care and treatment for women without insurance
- 2nd Harvest: the Fair donates a portion of opening day ticket sales to the food bank. The Fair has provided 108,258 pounds of food for children, families and seniors in need in our community during the past decade
- As a showcase for the arts:
- by sponsoring the Boys and Girls Club of Benton and Franklin Counties Impact Percussion Group at the Fair
- a traffic utility box art mural in downtown Kennewick
- Creating a "live art" showcase at the Fair, commissioning three local artists
- Bleyhl Co-Op Milk Challenge campaign participant, resulting in 609 gallons of milk donated to Northwest Harvest
- Columbia Basin Junior Livestock Show sponsor
- Sponsor of WSU Master Gardener's Food Garden Program, generating 800 pounds of fresh, local produce each year to those in need in the community
- Donor to Max E Benitz Endowed Scholarship WSU Tri-Cities
1,426 youth and adults entered 9,772 items in the Benton Franklin Fair in 2019. The Fair paid out almost $46,000 in prizes and cash for those exhibits.
The Market Stock Auction generated more than $1,012,000 for local 4-H and FFA members, making it the largest grossing youth auction in the state. The small animal sale generated more than $22,000 for exhibitors.
The Fair produces an annual parade in downtown Kennewick, with 4,000 spectators and 2,390 participants.
Nine-hundred and three amateur entertainers performed during the Fair.
191 businesses supported the Fair in 2018 providing $718,000 in sponsorship and more than $200,000 in in-kind donations.
The Kennewick Horse Heaven Round-Up Rodeo raised its added money (prize money contributed by the rodeo committee) to $20,000 per event, ranking #23 out of more than 650 PRCA rodeos in the nation.