A state lawmaker whose district includes the State Fairgrounds wants the Missouri Department of Agriculture to study how much money would be generated if the agency acquired more property near the Fairgrounds, for RV parks.
During Thursday’s House Committee hearing, State Rep. Nathan Beard (R-Sedalia) asked Department Legislative Affairs Director Tony Benz about the 2016 Fair and the 1,200 spaces at the RV parks.
“Were those maxed out from start to finish?”, Beard asked Benz. “They are, and it’s unbelievable,” Benz replied. “And I know for a fact that if we had more space available, it would be utilized.”
Benz says the RV parks are used year-round, adding that the Agriculture Department will check into the issue and report back to the Missouri House Appropriations Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources, which is chaired by State Rep. Craig Redmon (R-Canton).
State Rep. Jay Houghton (R-Martinsburg) told Benz there is strong demand, citing long waits to get into the 60-acre public campground during the State Fair.
“I’d say there is a pretty good demand if there’s a seven hour wait to get into the Campgrounds,” Houghton told Benz. “They start lining up two days prior to the Fair itself, no actually before that,” Benz replied. “It was the week before that. Yeah, and it was a seven hour wait just to drive through the line.”
Houghton told Benz one person waited in line for nine hours, adding the process could be refined.
About 350,000 people attended the 2016 State Fair. Benz told lawmakers there was record attendance during two of those days.