For 117 years, people from throughout the state of Kansas have congregated in Hoisington for an old-fashioned parade, for contests, the demolition derby, street dance and carnival. It is now a four day event.
Even though the ways that people celebrate have changed since the 1800s, celebrating the worker’s holiday is a ritual and existed before the State Fair.
Governor Sam Brownback has suggested moving the State Fair to Labor Day weekend would increase attendance at that event. The fair currently starts on the Friday following Labor Day and lasts for 10 days at the fairgrounds in Hutchinson.
It’s a bad idea at so many levels.
It is not only Hoisington that would suffer, Labor Day weekend is traditionally the last big day at the lake or for those with children, to take a short vacation.
It probably would not truly add new visitors to the fair.
Plus, it’s generally hot on that weekend. Really, really hot.
The cooler days of September are better for the fair because it has generally cooled down a few degrees that make the long walks on asphalt more bearable.
Moving the fair to Labor Day weekend would hurt Hoisington more than it would benefit the fair.
The logistics would be enormous. Fair officials have acknowledged that such a move would be complicated for vendors, and schools have fair days planned long in advance.
The crowds that attend the Hoisington event are a drop in the bucket compared to the crowds that attend the fair.
The Hoisington event benefits all of Barton County. Gas, meals, food and hotel rooms are all purchased providing sales tax and wage benefits for all of Barton County.
The Barton County commissioners and the Hoisington City Council each passed a resolution opposing the idea.
Although the time has passed for voting in the state fair survey conducted by a marketing firm from the University of Kansas, the state fair website www.kansasstatefair.com has contact information, including phone and email.
Hoisington’s Labor Day celebration and the Kansas State Fair should not be in competition.