HUTCHINSON, Kan. (KSNW) — The Kansas State Fair is moving full speed ahead this year. It’s the first time in two years, 726 days, to be exact. Friday is the first day filled with events, but it has come with some challenges.
The Kansas State Fair General Manager Bryan Schulz said the fair typically brings in roughly $5 million. It goes towards paying staff, renovating the fairgrounds, and paying for the big events.
After COVID-19 shut the fair in 2020, Schulz said they had to drop about 45% of their staff.
While it’s been a balancing act, Schulz said not to worry because it will be the same experience.
“We have now our wonderful team picked up in areas that they probably weren’t used to doing, but picked it up and ran with it, and you won’t see any difference from any other fair that we’ve had, as far as things going on, everything is being taken care of,” said Schulz.
For the city of Hutchinson and surrounding communities, it’s a big help for the local economy.
Schulz said there are typically about 350,000 fair-goers that come through the gates in the 10 days of events.
He says stores outside the fairgrounds typically become busy, retail is up, and hotels are a hot commodity.
“We’ve actually got people staying up in McPherson that we actually bring in, we’ve got people in Maize, we’ve got people all over, and we’ve got some people that we’ve heard are staying in Wichita,” said Schulz.
If you’re staying in Wichita, that’s about a 45 minute to an hour commute.
Schulz says he is hopeful this year will bring in more people than expected, as it’s been a long time coming.