CANYON CITY – The Grant County Fairgrounds ended the fiscal year in the black, a first after many years that ended in the red, officials said last week.

The fairgrounds showed $4,100 on the plus side for the year that ended June 30. The operation gets no property tax dollars but is funded by event revenue, state grants, sponsorships and RV park revenue.

Fairgrounds manager Mary Weaver and fair board president Les Zaitz reported on the turn-around in an update last week at the Grant County Court meeting.

They told the Court that the achievement is a direct result of the strategic planning efforts by the fair board and staff.

“We have put into place changes that will lead to better and better fairgrounds operations in the years ahead,” Zaitz said.

In addition to putting a priority on finances, the board is looking at changes to bolster community and family-oriented events at the fair and bring new events to the fairgrounds.

Zaitz said work is already completed or well under way on 13 of 15 tasks the Fair Board hopes to accomplish in 2012.

Among those tasks is restoring the rodeo court, creating an ambassador program for youth, seeking more local vendors for the fair and improving communications with citizens through social media and the website.

The board already has decided to move the fair dates earlier, to avoid schedule conflicts with school athletics and the state fair. That change will go into effect next year, with the 2013 fair. This year’s Grant County Fair will continue under the old schedule, running Aug. 22-25.

Commissioner Boyd Britton commended the fair for ending the fiscal year in the black, and also for taking action to shift the fair earlier in the summer.

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