Colorado State Fair
Historic performance review and assessment
Demographic and socio-economic analysis
Benchmarking and best practice case studies
Survey of current and prior users
Operational and physical enhancement recommendations
Operating projections of status quo and improvement scenarios
Johnson Consulting was retained by the Colorado State Fair (CSF) to provide an independent review and assessment of management and performance of the Colorado State Fairgrounds located in Pueblo, Colorado. The 102-acre Fairgrounds is owned by the State of Colorado and operated by the Colorado State Fair Authority, which is tasked with producing the annual Colorado State Fair – an 11-day event that attracts around 500,000 visitors each year – and is also responsible for year-round operations of the Fairgrounds. The site is improved with 57 buildings, a number of which are available for rent outside of the Fair. It is this year-round incremental utilization of the Fairgrounds, and associated revenues and expenses that is the focus of our study.
Fairgrounds must be able to adapt to become more “modern”, being respectful of their heritage but also capable of embracing broader markets and urban populations. Revenues from the successful and profitable Colorado State Fair are used to support year-round operations of the Fairgrounds. The Fairgrounds receives some State and local funding, although the amount of this funding has been sizably reduced in recent years. At the time of study, the Authority appointed a new General Manager, ideally positioning it to review historic operations and define a clear direction for the future of the Fairgrounds. Our report served to define strategies to assist the Fairgrounds in moving towards a break even operation on a year-round basis.