Financial Report for 2015 and 2016
2015 and 2016 were successful years for the Durham Fair. These achievements were possible, in part, because throughout the Fair’s history, its volunteers have successfully managed change. Arguably, the Durham Fair is the best fair around, and the volunteers of the Durham Fair Association continue to work hard to maintain that status.
The Durham Fair is owned and operated by the Durham Agricultural Fair Association, Inc., a private, not-for-profit organization incorporated under Connecticut laws without stockholders. The Durham Fair has no paid management or staff, a fact for which the Association is fiercely proud.
Membership in the Association is obtained by purchasing a membership ticket. Membership is limited to 300 persons, on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets are available from the Association’s Secretary from the conclusion of the annual meeting in December until the close of the annual Fair. A member is entitled to vote at the Association’s annual meeting in December where officers, coordinators, directors, superintendents and assistant superintendents are elected as well as other business such as changes in the constitution and bylaws, review of the scholarship fund rules and setting dates of upcoming fairs.
The Association owns 46 acres of land that includes four houses, one store, eight exhibit barns, three restroom facilities, one pavilion, one large storage building and many smaller buildings. The Association has leases with the Town of Durham to use White’s Farm for parking and with the Town of Middlefield to use Strickland Farm for parking. The Association rents additional land for parking from two Durham landowners. In addition, Regional District 13 allows use of their property free of charge.
In 2016, the Fair Association made purchases totaling $95,155 from Durham businesses, $63,989 from Middlefield and Rockfall businesses, and $114,610 from businesses in bordering towns. In 2015, purchases totaled $144,768 from Durham businesses, $57,613 from Middlefield and Rockfall businesses, and $142,381 from businesses in bordering towns.
It should be noted that the expenditures shown in this report are only the amounts actually paid. In many instances, the amounts would be significantly higher had it not been for people willing to work without pay or for the continued generosity of businesses in the local area who donated services and materials or made them available at very favorable prices.
During the Fair, Durham and Middlefield organizations greatly enhance the community spirit of the Fair with booths that have become known for high-quality products and friendly workers. As a result of the efforts of their volunteers, as well as the Fair’s success in maintaining a high level of attendance and the Fair’s policy of providing their concession space at a 75% discount (value of $36,960 in 2016, and $39,690 in 2015), many groups are able to raise a major portion of their annual income at the Fair. It is estimated that the booths operated by Durham and Middlefield nonprofit groups at the Durham Fair earn a combined net profit of at least $200,000 each year. Interestingly, the primary source of those funds (that are available for Durham and Middlefield needs) is fairgoers who do not live in Durham or Middlefield. Nonprofit groups outside of Durham and Middlefield are given a 25% discount on their concession space (value of $3,375 in 2016, and $2,650 in 2015). In addition, Connecticut DEEP and military recruiters received free space (value of $6,300 in 2016 and $5,220 in 2015).
The Fair Association has maintained its own scholarship fund for local students since 1966. Scholarship awards totaled $25,000 in both 2015 and 2016.
The following describes the present program:
- How is the program funded?
The Association contributes to the program all money generated from the sale of student tickets to students who are or will be eligible for the awards, plus a matching contribution. A contribution of up to 10% of the Fair profit is made if necessary to bring the balance of the fund up to $100,000.
- Who is eligible to apply?
Any graduating senior or high school graduate from Durham or Middlefield who will be enrolled in a school of higher learning as a first year undergraduate student is eligible to apply. Application forms are available in early spring at local high schools.
- What factors are considered in determining the recipients?
Community spirit and involvement, demonstrated willingness to work to help pay the cost of his/her own education, scholastic ability, and financial need are factors considered in determining the recipients of Durham Fair scholarships. Whether or not the student or the student’s relatives have been involved in the Fair is not considered.
- Who chooses the recipients?
The recipients are chosen by the Durham Fair Scholarship Committee, which consists of five individuals who are members of the Association.
The Durham Fair Association contributed a total of $212,238 in donations, discounts or public service activities to the community in 2016. That number was $223,774 in 2015.