Possibility of Kansas State Fair moving from Hutchinson now seems unlikely

Word has been going around about possible removal of The Kansas State Fair from Hutchinson.

This came about after a bill was passed by State Rep. Don Schroeder, R-Hesston, which if it passed, would have allowed the State Fair Board to seek proposals from cities that had an interest in hosting the fair.

However, State Sen. Ed Berger, R-Hutchinson and former Hutchinson Community College president, introduced a bill, allowing state sales tax to be collected by and returned to the fair, but only if the fair stayed in Hutchinson. According to an article from The Hutchinson News, “Funds will end if the State Fair leaves the city limits of Hutchinson.”

Hutchinson Community College Director of Marketing and Public Relations Denny Stoecklein began his 20-year-involvement with the State Fair in 1995. His duties were to find corporate sponsorships, scheduling events happening during the fair, and was held responsible for marketing uses of the fairgrounds off-season as well.

After four years, Stoecklein was promoted to Assistant Manager, and in 2003, was titled General Manager. Stoecklein served that role until July 2015, when he was given the opportunity to be PR and Director of Marketing by HutchCC.

“With a history that dates back 100 years in Hutchinson and Reno County, I think the State Fair is quite secure where it’s at,” Stoecklein said. “Fairs are about tradition, traditions that vary with each person.”

When asked how the city of Hutchinson and the college would be affected if the State Fair was to be moved, Stoecklein said that there would be a huge impact, since the fair generates tens of millions of dollars annually, from the fair and many other events, non-fair related that utilize the buildings throughout the years.

Stoecklein said that HutchCC benefits from the fair through marketing offers to potential students, and provides a connection with current and former students.

“Just last year, hundreds of former students stopped by our booth to sign a historic desk from Lockman Hall (that’s currently in display in the Admissions office in the Student Union),” Stoecklein said.

There are also opportunities for student groups or clubs to raise money. They can earn by helping with parking spaces or working in the food court. Nursing students, are able to gain valuable hands-on experience assisting exhibitors in health-related fields,” Stoecklein said.

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