Financial Report for 2019 and 2018
In 2019, we celebrated the 100th Fair as well as eliminated all our debt. However, overall, 2019 and 2018 were not the most successful years financially for the Durham Fair. Attendance decreased in 2018 and, while it increased in 2019, it was still below former levels. Expenses were relatively stable except for the cost of State Police which continued to skyrocket. However, financial results do not accurately reflect the continued dedication and enthusiasm of hundreds of volunteers. The Durham Fair is not only Connecticut’s largest agricultural fair, but arguably, the best fair around. 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.
Annual 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. That meeting is where officers, coordinators, directors, superintendents and assistant superintendents are elected. Other business such as changes in the constitution and bylaws, review of the scholarship fund rules and setting dates of upcoming fairs also happens at that time.
The Association owns forty-six acres of land that includes four houses, one store with barn, 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. Regional District 13 allows use of their property free of charge. The Association rents additional land for parking from two Durham landowners. In addition, in 2018, Tilcon and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield allowed use of their Wallingford properties free of charge.
In 2019, the Association paid premiums (prize money) of $106,455. Of that, $11,220 was paid to Durham residents, $3,692 to residents of Middlefield and Rockfall and $26,021 to residents of bordering towns.
In 2019, the Fair Association made purchases totaling $120,422 from Durham businesses, $73,377 from Middlefield and Rockfall businesses, and $125,421 from businesses in bordering towns. In 2018, purchases totaled $117,633 from Durham businesses, $93,328 from Middlefield and Rockfall businesses, and $157,217 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 nonprofit organizations (22 of them) 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 and the Fair’s policy of providing their concession space at a 75% discount (value of $31,860 in 2019, and $33,510 in 2018), many groups are able to raise a major portion of their annual income at the Fair. We estimate that total to be approximately $200,000. 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 $4,730 in 2019, and $3,815 in 2018). In addition, Connecticut DEEP, military recruiters, and, in 2019, the U.S. Census received free space (value of $12,070 in 2019 and $9,300 in 2018).
The Fair Association has maintained its own scholarship fund for local students since 1966. Scholarship awards totaled $25,000 in both 2019 and 2018.
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 who resides in Durham or Middlefield and 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 the 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 that consists of five individuals who members of the Association.
The Durham Fair Association contributed a total of $204,839 in donations, discounts or public service activities to the community in 2019. That number was $197,183 in 2018.