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Berrien County Youth Fair to pay 75 percent of youth premiums

Published 10:53pm Monday, September 19, 2011

The Berrien County Youth Fair Board of Directors has announced that 75 percent of the published amounts for youth premiums for the 2011 fair will be paid.
This is an increase from the 50 percent that has been paid the last two years. The fair was forced to decrease these payouts due to a loss in annual funding for premiums from the state of approximately $31,000 a few years ago.
In an effort to raise premium money for youth fair exhibitors, the BCYF board of directors held two pancake breakfasts this summer and also received personal and business donations, all totaling approximately $5,000.
While these fundraisers were very helpful, they are only a small drop in the bucket toward raising enough funds to make up for the loss in annual state funding.
Fair Manager, Lana R. Stover-Henderson, said: “The weather cooperated and we had a good year with attendance at a 10-year high 129,036.”
Stover-Henderson said the board is pleased it is able to increase the premiums from 50 percent to 75 percent. Exhibitors also receive ribbons and trophies, which have already been awarded.
Board Member and Treasurer Susan Coulston, said: “We want to reward our exhibitors to the highest extent possible and at the same time maintain our fair so it is here for them in the future. We had another solid year financially so we felt it was appropriate to share that with the exhibitors, despite the many needs we have to maintain our facility. The board felt paying 75 percent of the premiums was the best option overall, which is using all the monies raised specifically for this purpose, plus increasing our normal allocation.”
This year the fair had more than 2,400 exhibitors between ages 5 and 20 displaying 13,300 exhibits in approximately 3,000 classes.
The BCYF exhibitor handbook states that the fair reserves the right to pro-rate premiums if funding is not received from the State of Michigan or if fair receipts are insufficient to pay expenses.
The fair board would like to remind exhibitors to cash premium checks within 30 days, as uncashed premium checks are eventually turned over to the state. Any exhibitor wishing to donate his or her premium check back to the Fair is asked to simply sign the back of the check and send it back to the fair.

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