Kansas State Fair's new director looks ahead

October 14, 2018 - 10:47 pm
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HUTCHINSON, Kan. (AP) — The Kansas State Fair's new director hopes to overcome challenges in order to grow the annual end-of-summer event in Hutchinson.

Robin Jennison recently took over the fair after leading the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported. Each year, about 300,000 people attend the Kansas State Fair, which features music, livestock shows, business exhibits, rides for children and a variety of food vendors.

"You always hope to have the fair grow, and I think that we can make it grow," Jennison said. "I think the challenge the state fair has is really understanding what it is and where it came from, and it is originally about agriculture. Agriculture is always going to be a big component of the fair."

For example, one of the most popular attractions is the animal birthing center, where visitors can witness a live birth, Jennison said. Attendees have asked about a text alert system that would notify fair-goers when a birth is imminent.

Jennison said the Expo building, where many of the fair's attractions are held, faces structural problems and will need roof repair.

Another challenge will be repairing Bison Arena, which has at least $5 million in deficiencies, he said. The fair's board hasn't decided what to do with the outdated facility, according to Jennison.

"It's an iconic building at the state fair," he said. "It would be a tragedy to tear it down."

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