By Ryan Berry
GREENVILLE — Directors for the Darke County Agricultural Society may soon be turning to local businesses as an additional source of revenue. With well over 100,000 people coming through the gates of the nine-day, nine-night event, it can be the perfect avenue for recognizing businesses and fair supporters.
The board gave the two board members tasked with securing sponsorships, Brian Rismiller and Heidi May, the approval to move forward to lay out a plan for fair sponsorships above and beyond what is already being done.
Rismiller said this was something he had been looking into this several years ago and he received a call last year from Director Marla Werner about what he had been working on. “Before I dive too deep into some of the sponsorship stuff, I wanted to get the reaction of the board as to how much sponsorship we can go after,” said Rismiller. “One time we were talking about daily sponsors and having a sign at every gate and that person would be recognized on Greg Peck’s announcements, maybe a couple of seats in the Grandstand for that day’s events, maybe a couple of box seats or reserved seats or something.”
He pointed out that at one time he had a sponsorship packet put together with different levels of sponsorships depending on the days with historically high traffic. “I felt like we were missing out on it at the time, and I still feel like we’re missing out on that revenue source,” he said.
Werner added the board has had people coming to them asking if there were sponsorship opportunities. “I think we’re not prepared for that question now. We’ve got quite a few sponsors now that you don’t even realize,” she said. She pointed to the Gazebo entertainment schedule being paid for by a sponsor. She believes it is important to let the sponsor know what they are going to get for their sponsorship, i.e., signage, announcement, or tickets to the fair.
Werner said she has been looking at fairs across the state and country and there are plenty of opportunities for the fair as well as the sponsor.
The board also approved two motions to help repair some of the horse barns occupied by harness racing horses. Tim Reck presented a proposal to the board a couple months ago. The board agreed to purchase 150 mats and the wood necessary to repair the stalls in Barn 6. The approximate cost to repair the stalls in that barn is $8,000, excluding the cost of hardware. It was pointed out that a couple other barns have stalls that are in bad condition and will eventually need to be repaired.
Reck, in a recent meeting, pointed out the mats have made a big difference in keeping the stalls in good repair. Of the 77 stalls with mats already installed, one needs repaired. Forty-one additional stalls that did not have mats installed also need repairs.
According to Director Jim Zumbrink, this load of mats and lumber should repair approximately 25 stalls.
The next regular meeting of the Darke County Agricultural Society’s Board of Directors will be April 5, 7:30 p.m., Secretary’s Office.
To contact Daily Advocate Editor Ryan Berry, email [email protected].