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Economic and cultural contribution of the Beltrami County Fair

Key findings for communities

  • Economic value: In total, the Beltrami County Fair generated an estimated $1,070,281 of economic activity in 2018. The Beltrami County Agricultural Association spent $241,531 to put on the Fair. Thus, for every dollar invested by the Agricultural Association, $4.43 of additional spending was generated in the county.
  • Fair experience: Respondents overwhelmingly were repeat attendees (86 percent). Participants reported they would attend the Fair for an average of 2.4 days. The most enjoyable aspects of the Fair were animals, food and beverages, and 4-H contests.
  • Vendor experience: Beltrami County Fair vendors believed the Fair was a positive event for the county (more than 70 percent of respondents strongly agreed). Vendors were also satisfied with the 2018 Beltrami County Fair itself, as 96 percent of respondents reported being very satisfied or satisfied with the event.
  • Exhibitor experience: On average, animal exhibitors registered nine animals for the Fair, and the event appears to have some effect on animal production in Beltrami County. One in five animal exhibitors would not have raised their animal if not for the Fair.

About this report

In Minnesota, there are more than 90 county fairs (Explore Minnesota Tourism, 2017), each with its own characteristics and flavor. The Beltrami County Fair is held in Bemidji during the second week of August. Like many county fairs, Beltrami County’s features 4-H exhibits, talent shows, open class exhibits, live music, and kid’s activities.

The Beltrami County Agricultural Association was interested in better understanding Fair attendees and the Fair’s economic and cultural value. In 2018, the Association hired University of Minnesota Extension to complete an analysis. The project aimed to assist management decisions, enhance the Fair, and maximize community benefits.

To determine its cultural and economic contributions, Extension surveyed Fair attendees, vendors, and exhibitors, tailoring the survey approach to each group. An on-site questionnaire was administered to attendees during the Fair. An on-site survey was also administered to vendors and exhibitors.

More about this report

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Reviewed in 2019

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