The Finances and Economic Impact of the South Florida Fair
By law, the South Florida Fair is required to have an annual audit and to submit the audit to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (§616.101, Fla. Stat.) Copies of the Fair’s prior audits are available upon request.
According to a study released in 2000 by Economic Research Associates, Inc., the South Florida Fairgrounds generated a total economic impact of $149,924,000 in 1999. This was prior to the development of the Expo East Exhibit Hall, the enhancement of Yesteryear Village (including the new Bink Glisson and the Sally Bennett "Big Band Hall of Fame") and the aggressive marketing of the Expo Center exhibit floor space.
THE CRUZAN AMPHITHEATRE
In addition, the Cruzan Amphitheatre alone is estimated to generate an economic impact in excess of $20 million. But not only does the Fair generate a significant economic impact, it makes a substantial annual cash distribution to the youth of this area from its own resources.
In the 2007/08 fiscal year, the South Florida Fair paid in excess of $200,000 in scholarship and 4-H premium awards, compensation to choruses and bands performing during the annual Fair, and contributions to Palm Beach County schools through its Partners-In-Education Advance Ticket program.
Over the past fifteen (15) years, the Fair has made or has been involved in the making of over $22 million of capital improvements to the Fair-grounds including the Cruzan Amphitheatre. These capital improvements have been with tremendous public support but very little public financial assistance.
THE PROPOSED PROJECTS
In 1990, the South Florida Fair adopted a ten-year Master Plan which once fulfilled would represent $20 million in capital infrastructure to enhance Palm Beach County's most unique public asset. Already, with the addition of the Cruzan Amphitheatre, half of this Master Plan has been fulfilled.
The Fair spent in excess of $200,000 over 6 years in order to attract a quality amphitheatre developer capable of bringing a state-of-the-art facility to the Fairgrounds. After the first deal fell through, Pavillion Partners (now Live Nation) invested $11 million in developing an amphitheatre on the Fairgrounds. No public money or incentives were involved.
Recently, the Fair Board of Trustees approved an amendment to the Master Plan to take us over the next decade. These are long-term projects, but once complete, could represent an additional $20 million investment in improving the County's facilities. It involved the construction of a 100,000 square-foot Multi-Purpose Facility, the relocation of the maintenance facility, the expansion of Yesteryear Village, and construction of a plaza area in the center of the Fairgrounds.