StoryToday the King County Council approved the 4th COVID-19 Omnibus budget, the latest allocation of funding to support the County’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. King County Vice Chair Reagan Dunn championed a grant of $49,500 to the Enumclaw Event and Expo Center that was included in this emergency spending package. This funding will provide economic relief to the Expo Center amidst the cancellation of this year’s King County Fair and support community activities that comply with required public health directives.
“I’m glad to be able to support the Enumclaw community as they find creative ways to adapt to safety and health requirements,” said Dunn. “It was a high priority for me to help get the Expo Center the funding it needs to make it through these tough economic times because the Enumclaw Expo plays a critical role as the host of mainstay community events, including King County Fair. This funding will go far in keeping treasured traditions alive.”
With updates that enable the Expo Center to comply with social distancing and other public health requirements, the Center will be able to host safe and celebratory community events in the fall and winter, including a Hometown Holiday drive-thru light display around Christmastime. These events will help them make up for the significant revenue loss they experienced with the cancellation of the King County Fair.
“Enumclaw Expo & Event Center has experienced a great impact this past summer season due to COVID-19. With a net income loss of over $500,000 in five months, Expo is extremely thankful for Councilmember Dunn supporting our efforts,” said Enumclaw Expo Center General Manager Rene Popke. “Fair impact studies report that every dollar a fair takes in generates approximately $4.50 for the region. The ability to offer something at Expo gets us back to providing an economic boost to our surrounding communities. We know that Expo will be able to generate revenue again if we can get through this very unusual year, so we are beyond thankful for this bridge funding grant.”
This funding will go toward items such as handwashing stations, a tent to connect their two buildings to allow for social distancing, and drive-in theater equipment to support their events. Additionally, the Expo Center hopes to be able to rent tables and chairs to provide to restaurants throughout Enumclaw who require the equipment to expand seating into outdoor spaces.
“With the cancellation of high profile and high revenue events, the grant provided to Enumclaw Expo Center by the King County Council is greatly appreciated by our community and Expo Association,” said Enumclaw Mayor Jan Molinaro. “This will assist the Expo Center to continue towards better times and the great events that they have hosted over the many years and decades like the King County Fair which was cancelled for the first time in 157 years. I thank Councilmember Reagan Dunn and all other King County Councilmembers that supported the funding.”
The Enumclaw Event and Expo Center is known as home of the King County Fair, the longest-standing fair west of the Mississippi. The cancelation of the Fair this year due to COVID-19 marked the first time in 157 years that the Fair was not held.