The News Desk is a collection of news, notes and breaking items affecting the Fredericksburg community.
Will Farm Bureau be partner in State Fair?
BY BILL FREEHLING
Today is a Tennessee-based company’s last day to close on the State Fair of Virginia property in Caroline County without seeking an extension from creditors in the bankruptcy case.
But it remains unclear whether Mark Lovell’s Universal Fairs will close on the property today, or whether the company might have a partner in the purchase.
The Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, which describes itself as “Virginia’s largest farmers’ advocacy group,” is negotiating with Lovell to partner on the deal, confirmed organization spokesman Greg Hicks.
The Virginia Farm Bureau, which has more than 150,000 members, has long sponsored the state fair. Hicks said in an email that his organization would partner with Lovell “if the negotiations are to both parties’ likings.” He said he couldn’t say whether the deal will close today.
Lovell’s company, which puts on a variety of U.S. festivals including the Georgia State Fair, submitted the winning bid for the 331-acre Meadow Event Park and the rights to run the fair at a May 22 bankruptcy auction. The $5.67 million purchase price includes a 6 percent commission for Motley’s Auction & Realty Group.
Lovell was given 45 days to close on the property under the terms of the auction, and today is the expiration. He could pay the creditors in the bankruptcy case $150,000 for a 45-day extension.
The Meadow Event Park is near the Hanover County line and Kings Dominion. It’s been the Virginia fair’s home since 2009. State Fair of Virginia Inc., the previous fair operator, filed for bankruptcy late last year.
Lovell has started planning this year’s fair, which is scheduled Sept. 28 through Oct. 7. He has detailed big plans for the Meadow Event Park, including three-day music festivals, bike rallies, trade shows, weddings, horse events, banquets and corporate meetings.
Lovell could not be reached for comment Thursday.
Bill Freehling: 540/374-5405