The North Dakota State Fair Association released this year’s entertainment lineup for the 2017 event. Each year between 200,000 to 300,000 people attend the North Dakota State Fair. But there’s a couple of things you may not know about it. First, that it’s subsidized by taxpayer dollars. Second, that it’s not a money-maker.
It wasn’t that many years ago that a new grandstand was built at the fairgrounds… to the tune of $15 million. Just four years ago, Rob Port at the SayAnything Blog reported that in spite of the increase in attendance at the time, the fair had been losing money since 1999.
Even if we removed the fact that the state fair has not been making money, is it appropriate that state taxpayers subsidize such an event? I don’t believe so. Such endeavors are properly suited for the private sector, not the public one. And if the event cannot be profitable and stand on it’s own, then it shouldn’t stand at all.
Sometimes decisions such as this are not popular. But given the current economic climate of North Dakota, where the legislature is having to find ways to make cuts, it would be the right thing for them to begin moving towards fully privatizing the North Dakota State Fair. Besides, when considering the proper role of government, the move would be the right thing to do.