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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. The Fair Association is supported by four year-round employees, a Board of Directors of 12, and more than 500 volunteers.

The Fair Association is proud of its role in the community, and is pleased to share with you the following highlights from 2023:

  • Community Involvement:
    • 1,092 youth and adults entered 7,373 items in the Benton Franklin Fair. The Fair paid out $50,991 in prizes and cash to those exhibitors.
    • The Market Stock Auction generated $1,319,600 for local 4-H, Grange and FFA members, making it the largest grossing youth livestock auction in the state.
    • The Fair parade in downtown Kennewick drew 3,000 spectators and 2,448 participants.
    • 306 participants competed in the cheerleading competition.
    • 112,250 people attended the five-day Fair.
    • Entrepreneurs: provided space for local makers and entrepreneurs to market their products.
    • The Fair provides youth admission tickets to local law enforcement to distribute at National Night Out, Boys & Girls Clubs and other community events.
    • Supporting others with sponsorships and donations of $142,953 including: Columbia Basin Junior Livestock Show; Mariachi & More Festival; Junior Achievement, Pasco Chamber’s Growing Our Future Grant; TRRC Boot Camp Sheep & Goat Clinic; Franklin County Cattleman’s Association; Basin City Freedom Rodeo.
  • Tourism & Economic Impact:
    • The Horse Heaven Round-Up rodeo was broadcast live on the Cowboy Channel network to 42 million households.
    • The Fair directly employed 144 people; hundreds more jobs were created by vendors and contractors at food booths, the carnival, and other entities.
    • Drawing ticket buyers from 39 states to the Tri-Cities.
    • The economic output of the event in Benton County is $18.5 million.
  • Creating Healthy Communities:
    • Tough Enough to Wear Pink: The Fair has donated more than $212,000 in the past 16 years for preventative care and treatment of breast cancer for residents of our community.
    • Nonprofits, service clubs and community organizations earned $177,744 at the Fair to further their missions of giving back to the community.
    • American Red Cross Blood Drives. Sponsored two blood drives with American Red Cross and collected 115 units of blood.
    • Distributed 2,100 wristbands for the Safe Kids program with partner Benton REA.
  • Addressing Food Insecurity:
    • The Fair donates a portion of opening day ticket sales to 2nd Harvest. The Fair has provided 143,853 pounds of food for children, families, and seniors in need over the past 15 years. In 2023, the Fair also provided 1,000 free admission tickets for families utilizing the 2nd Harvest Drive Thru food distribution event at the fairgrounds in August.
    • Sponsor of six raised garden beds for the Master Gardener Foundation of Benton & Franklin counties’ “Build-A-Bed-Feed-A-Family” program at the Habitat for Humanity development in Pasco. This program helps low-income and disadvantaged people grow and consume fresh and nutritious garden produce. One raised bed can provide approximately 200 pounds a year.
  • Education:
    • CBC welders gain practical experience working on projects for the Fair. This year projects included improvements to the livestock sale ring and new livestock gates.
    • Scholarships: $10,000 annually.
    • 656 educators received free fair admission on Educator Appreciation Day with partner STCU.
    • Mid-Columbia and Richland libraries Summer Reading Programs, providing 4,500 admission tickets to children who complete the challenge.
    • Fair staff educates youngsters about agriculture, reaching 400 5th-graders at Farm Fair each March.
  • Supporting those with special needs:
    • Host of Rascal Rodeo at no charge to participants and volunteers. Rascal Rodeo provides an authentic rodeo experience to special needs people of all ages. Donated $3,200 in belt buckles to the organization.
    • Sponsor of Therapeutic Riding of Tri-Cities (TROT) fundraiser and The ARC of Tri-Cities Partners ‘N Pals summer day camp.
    • Support several Columbia Industries initiatives including CI Shred and Opportunity Kitchen.
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