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Ramsey County leadership and staff thank Agricultural Society of Ramsey County for long and rich history of producing Ramsey County Fair

This past weekend, the Agricultural Society of Ramsey County announced the cancelation of the 2023 Ramsey County Fair. The announcement came after multiple years of discussions between the Agricultural Board and Ramsey County leadership and staff about statutory requirements and other logistical arrangements.  

The discussions with the Fair Board date back to 2019, the last year there was a county fair. At that time, the county had determined the Agricultural Board would no longer be able to use the second floor of the barn for public activities due to structural deficiencies of the access ramp and the lack of fire protection. During these conversations, Ramsey County also raised concerns with the insurance limits for the fair’s vendors/contractors and noted this would need to be addressed. Unfortunately, the fair was cancelled in 2020 due to COVID-19. 

Conversations continued as both parties worked on an agreeable arrangement. During this time, like all organizations, Ramsey County began a review of its internal policies and procedures to ensure that they are in line with its mission, vision, values, and strategic priorities. As the county’s events procedures were being reviewed, it was noted that the event services provided to the Agricultural Society for the fair were not being provided to other organizations. These services included staff time to assist with set-up and teardown, recycling/trash, and the utility cost for the Ramsey County Fair to operate on county-owned grounds which was estimated to cost approximately $25,000 in 2023.  

To center equity and fairness across organizations, the county began developing a policy on county support to external events. In the interim, the Ramsey County Agricultural Society was required to come into alignment with standard practices applied to all other organizations working with Ramsey County to put on an event, which included providing necessary insurance and indemnification as well as paying the costs associated with producing the event. These requirements would bring the Agricultural Board into an arrangement that is consistent with other organizations partnering with Ramsey County while ensuring Ramsey County taxpayers are not being burdened with the costs associated with event production. These requests were deemed not feasible by the Agricultural Board, and they ultimately determined not to produce the event on the county-owned grounds. 

Founded in 1913, the Ramsey County Fair has had a long and rich history celebrating local traditions and ways of life. Ramsey County leadership and staff are grateful to the Ramsey County Agricultural Society and everyone in the community who dedicated time and energy to make this event a success over the years. The county remains open to future partnerships.

April 2022 Board Workshop: Economic Growth and Community Investment Service Team Committee of the Whole - Property Management Energy Initiative and Ramsey County Fair

To learn more about the history of the Ramsey County Fair, watch the Ramsey County Property Management presentation to the Ramsey County Committee of the Whole during a board workshop on April 19, 2022. The update included an overview of a brief history of the county fair, previous county fair discussions, statutory review, and information on county fairs in other counties. The presentation on the Ramsey County Fair begins at approximately 1:05.

Watch presentation

Below is an overview shared during the board workshop by Ramsey County Staff related to other metro counties and county fairs. Although named for the county in which they reside, all of the county fairs listed below are separate entities through the Agricultural Society.

County County owned land? County resources? Annual funding? Agreement for Fair?
Anoka Yes No No* Yes, year-round use and include capital funding
Dakota No No No* No, a separate capital funding agreement exists
Hennepin No No No No
Washington No  No No  No
Ramsey Yes Yes No  None to date

* Will contribute to capital building projects on occasion.


Posted on Monday, April 24, 2023 - 3:52 p.m.