There may not be a Key Peninsula Community Fair in 2009. A meeting is set for Dec. 8 at 6 p.m. at the Longbranch Improvement Club to discuss the future of the fair. Plans are to either seat a new board and officers and move forward with plans for a 2009 fair, take a year off to investigate alternatives, or work with the founding organizations to liquidate the assets of the fair, said Mike Hayes, president of the 2008 KPCF.
For eight years the Key Peninsula has attracted thousands of people to the fair, with 4,000 in attendance this year. The bills have been paid, but except for a little bit of money set aside for next year, Hays, said 2009 will require starting from scratch. With economic woes resounding across the country, 2009 is expected to be a hard year to raise funds.
Hays became president of the fair in 2006, when the Longbranch Improvement Club was talking about pulling out of the partnership with the Key Peninsula Civic Center and the Key Peninsula Business Association, he said.
“I thought we should really give one more big push to try to make it work before pulling out,” Hays said. “So if they did pull out they could do so with good a conscience.”
After three years serving as president, Hays said he no longer wants the role. With a full time job, and service on other boards, he doesn’t have enough time to devote to the job of fair president, he said.
No one has stepped forward as yet to act as president for the Key Peninsula Community Fair, and Hayes said in order to survive, the fair must have a leader.
“If we come up with a new president I am willing to help while the person gets started,” he said.
Opinions were split on a decision for continuing the fair when the regular meeting of the Key Peninsula Civic Center board met Nov. 13.
Ed Taylor, representative of the civic center who sits on the fair board, asked for an opinion from the civic center board to take to Dec. 8 fair board meeting.
“The founding fathers should have a position,” said Phil Bauer, past president of the civic center.
Most in attendance said they want to see something happen on the Key Peninsula that will bring the community together, like Tom Boardman, who said the community needs something to gel us together.
But Tim Kezele said he doesn’t want the fair.
“Everybody works way too hard for what it is,” he said. “It’s too long, and too much work and I think it just needs to go away. It doesn’t represent our community with a quality event.”
There was no consensus, and a special civic center board meeting is scheduled for Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. to decide.
The fair began eight years ago when Mike Salatino, Claudia Loy and Fred Ramsdall got together and came up with a plan.
“We went around to all of the groups and sold it, so we had a partnership,” Salatino said. “After the first year we bought out the interest of the Key Peninsula Park Board.”
Another Key Peninsula event, Pioneer Days, was hosted by the civic center, and it had been successful in the beginning, Salatino said.
“It became a losing proposition for a while and worse each year, just like the fair is now,” he said. “A lot of people are burned out and tired, and that is one of the things we haven’t done well, is replace ourselves. It’s still the same people doing the job and they really are burned out. We should have created a system to better replace ourselves before they got so burned out.”
If an annual event is approved, Salatino said it is best to make it a multiple day event.
“One of the things most don’t understand is that with Pierce County set up the way it is, you can’t afford to do one-day events because of the permit cost,” he said.
Hays said while Salatino makes valid points on that issue and those points should be considered, there are plenty of one-day events throughout Pierce County.
Salatino said he doesn’t want to see the fair end.
“It think it needs some retooling, and needs different focuses and needs to bring in a lot of new people to work,” he said. “When we started this thing we had probably 300 volunteers. It is a big operation.”
Three options will be considered at the Dec. 8 meeting, Hays said.
“Either it will go forward as it has before, or if we can’t put a plan together, I will ask the board to form an executive committee to explore options for the future,” he said, “which could mean a reformulated event. The third option would be liquidating the assets. I think it is highly unlikely we’ll do the latter. I believe we will either go forward or take one year off and explore options.”
Danna Webster contributed to this story.
Let your voice be heard Public meeting of the Key Peninsula Civic Center Board Determine a stance on whether to continue the fair Public comment welcome and encouraged Dec. 4, 7 p.m. at the civic center
Public meeting of the Key Peninsula Community Fair Board Determine the future of the fair Public comment welcome and encouraged Dec. 8, 6:30 p.m. at the Longbranch Improvement Club