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NEW STUDY SHOWS FAIRS HOW TO SURVIVE THE 90s

 SACRAMENTO, Calif., Jan. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- At a time when many fairs in California are struggling financially to survive, at a time when the governor is calling for a study on the privatization of fairs, at a time when some fairs are trying to become more relevant to today's society, a blue ribbon panel on fairs has released a report outlining a suggested blueprint which fairs can use a guideline to success into the 21st century.
 The report was released today (Monday, Jan. 18, 1993) by the director of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA), Henry Voss. The report followed a year-long study by a blue ribbon panel of experts appointed by Voss.
 The panel, chaired by Bank of America Vice President of Agriculture Business Cornelius Gallagher, said fairs in California face two fundamental problems. The first is the immediate reality of lower than usual revenues from state sources. The second is the industry structure which prevent the fairs from becoming self-governing.
 In a cover letter to Director Voss, the panel said, "We believe it is essential to create a new system of governance which empowers fairs to be both autonomous and entrepreneurial."
 While the report recognized the fair industry in California had an economic impact of more than $1.6 billion to local economies, including $160 million in tax revenue to state and local governments, it also noted the equally important role fairs play in their respective communities in terms of the contributions they make to society.
 Findings and Recommendations:
 The report contains seven major findings which surfaced as the committee examined the business climate for California's 81 fairs.
 MISSION: A fair has the same obligation as any business to identify and articulate its mission.
 SUCCESS CHARACTERISTICS: The characteristics of successful fairs can be observed and enumerated.
 MEASURES OF SUCCESS: Most fairs do not systematically collect, measure, or report the social and economic impacts they have in their respective communities.
 STATE FUNDING: State funding for fairs has been reduced and prospects are it will be reduced further, increasing the importance of self-reliance.
 REGULATION: Like other businesses, fairs face a complex web of regulation, but the fair industry is further burdened by state civil service rules and purchasing and contracting restrictions.
 GOVERNANCE: Fair board directors do not always fully understand their roles, authority, fiduciary obligations and legal liabilities.
 MARKET PLACE: California fairs, acting collectively, can exert economic power.
 The panel made numerous recommendations designed to offer direction for problem-solving. The panel emphasized these recommendations do not promote micromanagement by state government or any committee. The panel said the recommendations, if implemented, would help California fairs keep pace with the demands of changing social and economic circumstances. Most of the recommendations are directed to fair management, proposing actions that will enable fairs to:
 -- Clarify their mission
 -- Meet community needs
 -- Measure, document and publicize fairs' social impact within their communities
 -- Expand and diversify their revenue base
 -- Take advantage of joint marketing, sponsorship and promotional program opportunities
 -- Institute standard business and marketing practices
 -- Learn from each other by applying program and management innovations found successful at other fairs
 -- Recruit volunteer assistance from business and the professions
 -- Improve relations with government regulatory agencies
 -- Segregate, clarify and strengthen the respective roles of fair boards and managers
 -- Design and implement market research initiatives to provide the foundation for planning program changes and innovations.
 The panel also made recommendations to the governor and the legislature. These included identifying options for effecting the deregulation of fairs to make them more innovative and self-reliant.
 -0- 1/18/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: Reporters or editors who desire a copy of the full report should contact the Communications Office of the CDFA at 916-654-0462./
 /CONTACT: Carl DeWing, communications officer of CDFA, 916-654-0462/


CO: California Department of Food and Agriculture ST: California IN: SU:

RK-GT -- SF001 -- 6029 01/18/93 17:16 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 18, 1993
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