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Lindley Estes is a business writer for The Free Lance-Star and Fredericksburg.com. This blog is on Fredericksburg-area business. Send an e-mail to Lindley Estes.
Caroline cheers outcome of State Fair auction
Caroline County sent out a press release this morning expressing satisfaction with the outcome of Tuesday’s sale of the Meadow Event Park to Tennessee-based Universal Fairs. That company plans to operate the 10-day State Fair at the Caroline facility this September. Universal Fairs also plans to run other events throughout the year at the 330-acre facility. Here is the press release from Caroline:
State Fair Remains in Caroline County
Universal Fairs Will Operate Fair in 2012
Charles Culley, County Administrator
Bowling Green, May 22, 2012—The State Fair of Virginia has been saved to operate in Caroline County, Virginia.
The State Fair at Meadow Event Park was sold to experienced Fair operator, Universal Fairs of Cordova Tennessee, for $5,670,000; when auctioneer fees are excluded, the improved fair grounds sold for a mere $50,000 more than the original sale price paid by State Fair of Virginia Inc. in 2005.
The new owner, Mr. Mark Lovell was welcomed to Caroline by County staff after the sale. Discussions included next steps to get the Fair up and running for the September 28-October 7 reopening of the Commonwealth’s preeminent agricultural fair in 2012.
The Meadow Event Park is known as one of the most beautiful settings for a State Fair in the nation. The Meadow is also the birthplace of Triple Crown Champion, Secretariat. By the continued use of the site as a State Fair grounds, the home of the greatest Triple Crown Champion will be preserved.
Making possible the re recruitment of the State Fair at the Meadow was the strong stance of the Board of Supervisors to not allow a rezoning of Secretariat’s Birthplace for any purpose other than a State Fair or entertainment venue. By limiting speculation on the site for non conforming purposes, the Board narrowed the potential of the site to its only feasible use as the Fair Grounds for the State Fair.
County staff worked with over a dozen potential buyers in the weeks prior to the auction. In the end, only Universal Fairs was willing to buy the Meadow at a very favorable price. Reportedly, the Fair Grounds received over $45 Million in investment and an additional investment from the Commonwealth of over $10 Million for road improvements.
Caroline County looks forward to working with Universal Fairs to hosting the State Fair of Virginia in 2012 and for many years to come.