- Associated Press - Wednesday, November 25, 2015

GRAND ISLAND, Neb. (AP) - Officials say the Nebraska State Fair has seen success and growth since the event moved to Grand Island.

The Grand Island Independent (https://bit.ly/1NsIkbG ) reports that fair executive director Joseph McDermott told the Grand Island Rotary Club on Tuesday that the fair’s income has increased 103 percent, while expenses are up only 18 percent since the fair moved to Grand Island in 2010.

“I think this goes to show you that the Nebraska State Fair has been successful in Grand Island, and it will continue to be successful because everyone wants to be part of it,” he said.

McDermott also said that entertainment revenue increased from about $216,000 to about $1.5 million since the move. The director said that the Keith Urban concert this year was a big reason for the revenue jump.

The fair pledged to focus on agriculture when it moved to Grand Island, and 93 percent of visitors to the state fair reported that the emphasis on agriculture was “good to excellent.”

According to the director, despite gains in several areas, admission revenue has only increased 11 percent because of officials’ desire to keep the event affordable.

McDermott said the event is only about 15,000 visitors away from hitting the 2 million visitors mark for the years it has been in Grand Island. Officials expect to make that achievement on opening day 2016.

According to the director, officials plan to build on the fair’s success by bringing other big-name concert acts, working to raise about $900,000 for a new outdoor horse arena and upgrading other equine facilities.

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Information from: The Grand Island Independent, https://www.theindependent.com

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