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Moving date of Kansas State Fair to Labor Day weekend not popular, survey finds

  • Published Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, at 6:44 a.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, March 26, 2014, at 11 a.m.

— A proposal to move the starting date of the Kansas State Fair to Labor Day weekend wasn’t popular with people who responded to a survey.

Nearly 75 percent of 2,500 people who returned a survey conducted by University of Kansas Jayhawk Consulting either disagreed or strongly disagreed with Gov. Sam Brownback’s proposal to move the fair’s starting date. Only 11 percent agreed with the idea, and the rest had no opinion.

More than half of the respondents said they probably would not attend the 10-day fair in Hutchinson if the dates changed.

Brownback had suggested that moving the date would increase attendance at the fair, which generally is held in mid-September.

“I think the survey was very thorough, and I think it clearly shows that by moving the fair, it would be very difficult to do given all the different groups that participate in it,” said longtime fair board member Tom Tunnell, chief executive of the Kansas Grain and Feed Association in Topeka.

“I think there is a concern that many families use that weekend as the last weekend to go to the lake or have family cookouts, and it would be difficult to get them to attend the fair.”

Brownback had suggested that Jayhawk Consulting study the proposal, and the graduate student-operated university marketing company conducted the survey in the fall. Jayhawk Consulting said more than 2,500 people responded to the survey, which was sent via e-mail to 11,000 people.

“We are going to continue to explore other ways we can strengthen our revenue and attendance within the existing date window,” said Denny Stoecklein, the fair’s general manager.

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