Yakima has canceled its money-losing state agricultural exposition for 1996, but last month’s Ag Expo/ Pacific Northwest Farm Forum in Spokane turned a profit, officials said Tuesday.
Yakima County Commissioner Bill Flower said the highly touted Agricultural Showcase will skip this year and be held every two years beginning in 1997.
The showcase, which cost state taxpayers $100,000 annually, was operated by a Seattle company and lost money four straight years, running up a $70,000 deficit. Organizers had hoped to attract 400 foreign buyers to the August 1995 show, but about 320 showed up, Flower said.
“It’s a good show. It’s proven that Yakima is the place to showcase ag products,” he said.
Meanwhile, Spokane’s Ag Expo/ Farm Forum pocketed a $30,000 profit from its January show, which sold 6,315 tickets, the second-largest attendance ever. The event also hosted 276 exhibitors as the first trade show to use the new Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena.
“We’re doing OK,” said Dennis Fiess, manager of the Spokane Ag Bureau, which coordinates the show. “We didn’t budget to sell out the arena exhibition space, but, in fact, we came awful close.”
Fiess said it cost about $250,000 to stage the show, which has made money 19 consecutive years.