Berrien County Youth Fair
August 17-22, 2015

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Here are a few frequently asked questions about the EXPO Arena. Please contact us with additional questions or comments.

Why is the EXPO being built and why is it such a large complex?

The revenue from the completed EXPO Arena will help to grow and provide new programs for the young people it serves. County, state, and federal money once used to assist the BCYF in financing services such as premium support have been phased out and we need to replace the lost funding.

While the existing fairgrounds offer ample space to host events and shows, it does not have a facility constructed to function year-round. In addition, the EXPO will be better suited to host a wider variety of programs for kids and adults, and this new space will allow for multiple bookings of the complex.

Once completed, the EXPO will offer six acres under one roof. Using both the Stable and the Arena, the EXPO Arena can house events up to 186,500 square feet. Building the EXPO this large will ensure that it is not outgrown, as has been the case with similar arenas across the country.

Where is the money coming from to build the EXPO Arena?

The $17–$20 million being raised to build the EXPO Arena comes from individuals, corporations, and other nonprofit associations and foundations. No government money is being used to build the EXPO Arena at the Berrien County Youth Fair. The Berrien County Youth Fair Association, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and a portion of your gift is tax-deductible.

What is the economic impact of the EXPO Arena on Berrien County and the surrounding region?

According to the marketing study commissioned for the Berrien County Youth Fair Association by Markin Consulting of Minneapolis, MN, the EXPO Arena will generate an additional $32 million annually within a 25-mile radius of Berrien Springs. The EXPO Arena will help create 500 new jobs within that 25-mile radius. These figures are based on expansion of the regional hospitality industry—hotels, restaurants, retail—and a buildup of the existing regional equestrian industry. The Markin study also predicts that when completed, the EXPO Arena could draw as many as 10,000 visitors per weekend for 39 weekends per year.

How soon will the EXPO Arena be ready to take reservations for future bookings, including horse shows, livestock shows, trade shows, home and garden shows, school events, wedding receptions, wine festivals, and tractor, car, and boat shows?

The Berrien County Youth Fair will not accept advanced booking for the EXPO Arena facility until ground is broken. Groundbreaking will occur as soon as we have the needed $5 million in the bank to begin construction on Phase I of the project. The current Berrien County Youth Fair facilities typically can be booked for events from April to October.

When will the EXPO Arena at the Berrien County Youth Fair be completed?

The EXPO arena will be built with a construction schedule of October through April so no interference with scheduled events will occur. Preliminary topographic studies may occur during the year to expedite the planning process. Upon collection of needed funds to break ground, construction schedules will follow the timing outlined with a completion date determined at that time.

Where will the EXPO be located?

The EXPO Arena will be located in the southeast corner of the fairground complex.

Will the EXPO be owned by the Berrien County Youth Fair Association?

Yes. The EXPO is an extension of the fair and will be managed by the same board members who have made the fair the success it is today.