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Advertising more visible at the fair
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By Tere Dunlap


MONROE - Business advertising is becoming more visible at the Green County Fair, and Susan Konopacki, the fair's sponsorship coordinator, hopes fair-goers take notice.

"We want them to notice the graciousness of the businesses and would like them to support these businesses," Konopacki said.

The Green County Fair is privately-funded; it does not receive county government funding.

"One bad year can affect the fair financially, which is why the sponsorship program is so important," Konopacki said.

As an example of the fair's vulnerability, Konopacki explained that one grandstand performance was rained out last year, but the fair still had to pay $25,000 for the show.

Konopacki is pleased with the response of local business owners to her mail requests for sponsors. This is the third year of the program, and Konopacki said new businesses have come on board since last year. More than a dozen businesses jumped in as fair sponsors this year, at levels ranging from $250 to $10,000.

"You have to remember, it's a hard (economic) time for businesses too," she said.

Business sponsors include a toy store, a tanning salon, banks and farm implement dealers. The Monroe Times is a sponsor as well.

Fair-goers will see the business banners hanging in various places around the fairgrounds including the stock pavilion, dairy judging barn and the grandstand.

Konopacki was asked to take on the duty of sponsorship coordinator this year. A committee ran the program for the first two years, but then the members decided they needed a coordinator, said Marv Rufi, a fair board director.

Konopacki was a good choice for coordinator, because she had past experience on the fair board, Rufi said.

"She makes it look easier than I thought it was," he said.

Rufi was a leading proponent of starting the program three years ago, after learning other fairs had sponsors.

"It took a while to get organized," he said. "But the program really seemed to create money without raising gate fees."

The added funds also help keep buildings and barns in good repair, he said.

"Sponsors have really come forward," he said. "And we're getting more and more, even with the economy."

Rufi declined to say how much money sponsorships raise, but he said the fair board gets a large portion of its total annual revenue from renting the grounds and buildings for public events, such as the balloon rally, fire school and tractor pull, as well as private functions, such as weddings. About 100 campsites on the grounds are available for rent, and the fair board rents the buildings for winter storage.

Rufi is a fair business sponsor himself, as the owner of Marv's Toy Store in Monroe.

"My store is farm toys - farm-related - and that's what the fair is," he said.

Being a sponsor is a way for him to support the fair "a little bit more," Rufi said.

"It's good advertising through a good cause," he said.

Rufi said he's a director and a sponsor simply because he likes the fair.

"I feel good as a sponsor giving the money, and I feel good (as a director) at getting the money," he said.

To sponsor the 2011 Green County Fair, contact Konopacki at, or call (608) 325-9159. Deadline for 2011 sponsors is Feb. 1.