View Full Version : State Fair grounds needs beautification

03-09-2006, 08:01 PM
Sorry everyone, but yesterday, I took a good look at the State Fair Grounds from I-44, and the place looks like a dump. First off, all of the ugly looking trees lining the fence near I-44 need to be removed. Just remove the fence and put up a nice wall. THe Fairgrounds needs some serious landscaping.

03-09-2006, 09:11 PM
yeah i agree... i went to the car show today and kinda laughed that they had such nice cars in such crappy buildings... they need to do a major overhaul of the whole fairgrounds...

03-09-2006, 09:57 PM
Yeah, I completely agree. Unfortunately, the exhibit buildings aren't the first item on the list. Neither is beautification. The horse barns are first. Personally, I'm with you guys...I think the whole fair grounds needs to be demolished and we simply need to start over. Except for maybe the State Fair isn't bad.

03-15-2006, 02:03 PM
The current sorry state of the fairgrounds is the fault of a horrendous planning effort to implement a misguided overhaul that would have made our fairgrounds an Oklahoma version of the Dallas fairgrounds for the Texas State fair.

A few years ago, the fair board of directors brought in a guy named Skip Wegner to overhaul the fairgrounds, and he proceeded to take out the amenities that had improved it; concreted several of the fountains, ripped up the flowers/cannas around the International building, just generally hacked the place to bits - ruined the Made in Oklahoma building, ruined the 14 Flags Plaza, and chased off a bunch of traditional vendors, too. It's also why they tore down the Monorail, although they did that just recently (it was part of Wegner's master plan).

I think more than a few people were hacked off at what was going on (yours truly included), and after some polls, angry radio station calls, and a few other discussions, Wegner chose to leave - and I think went back to almost the same job he had in Texas...not sure on that, however. Good Riddance was my vote.

The sad part about it is that the Fairgrounds is in this pitiful, half-done/half-destroyed shape. Before Wegner got here, at least the grounds were kept up and the flowers looked nice...


03-15-2006, 02:23 PM
Sounds like a good candidate for Maps III.

03-15-2006, 02:27 PM
I thought OKC just passed a big hotel tax for the fairgrounds to make it more like what Tulsa is doing? What happened to that project?

03-15-2006, 02:36 PM
that's what I thought also swake. also, wasnt the fairgrounds part of MAPS I and wasnt there yet another recent effort there?

Another final question, what do they do with the revenue gained from events held there? It seems like its just going into someone??s pockets instead of being reinvested into the park.

If the park is such a top draw in the city (not to mention the state) then there should be some $$$ coming from it to at least maintain itself, you'd think. :bright_id

03-15-2006, 02:57 PM
Part of the original MAPS projects were allocated to renovations to the Fairgrounds Arena, and that project was done several years ago. There was a separate hotel tax, voted on just this year, devoted to paying for upgrades/renovations to the horse barns at the fairgrounds.

I don't think there has been a separate tax issue dedicated solely for the purpose of upgrading the fairgrounds.

I do not know the precise business relationship between the fairgrounds and the City of OKC, but I *believe* it is owned either solely by the State Fair Trust (or perhaps jointly with the City). The trust itself is a non-profit group that governs the fairgrounds and its operations via the State Fair Board.

I won't say this is current or even promise that it's accurate, but I also recall something that said the city owns the fairgrounds land, but leases it to the fair board for some token annual amount and lets them manage it. That could be entirely wrong, and if that's the case, my apologies in advance.

I don't know how the City sees revenue from the fairgrounds in other than an indirect way, eg taxes arising from hotel occupancy, restaurant use, perhaps a fixed portion of the rental of Fair Park buildings for various events.

BTW, "Fair Park" is what Dallas calls its fairgrounds, and it is now how they refer to it in Oklahoma City. I believe that was another Wegner make-us-look-like-Dallas ideas.


03-15-2006, 06:17 PM
Yup, SoonerDave, you're 100% correct. The motel tax increase will only renovate the horse barns, build a new show arena, etc.

MAPS paid to renovate the State Fair Arena and the interior of some of the exhibit buildings.

There's still much work to do, and a complete overhaul is what is needed.

SoonerDave, you sound like me. When Skip came to town, I complained, complainesd some more........Skip continued to tell me everything would be okay. But, as he told me that, things continued to get worse. I'll never forget his first year on the job. He basically cut the size of the fair in half, and many joked that it was a community carnival, not a state fair. He seemed to be more focused on clean restrooms than he was on nice exhibits, vendors, etc.

I tried to tell him that if he'd only lower the rates on vendors and exhibitors, he'd create a nicer, larger fair which would attract more visitors. Instead, attendance has continued to suffer. Skip is also the one that wanted the fair cut to 2 weeks. I agree that was a wise decision, probably the best decision he made.

I think cutting the Spring Fair was a mistake though. I liked the small county feel of the Spring Fair. BUT, I guess that's what Skip basically turned the fall fair into! :)

I went to the Tulsa State Fair last year. I'd have to say they're pretty comparable now. OKC's is a little larger, but not by much.

Anyways, I hope things turn around one of these days. I think the recent changes to the International Building were a plus. The bubble roof never made sense. It was simply cheap.

03-15-2006, 06:18 PM
By the way, SoonerDave, thanks for posting. You have some grat input on here. Looks like you registered long ago, but just now started posting. We welcome you. And look forward to more insightful input from you!

03-15-2006, 06:19 PM
Another final question, what do they do with the revenue gained from events held there? It seems like its just going into someone??s pockets instead of being reinvested into the park.

That's a very very very good question.

03-15-2006, 06:21 PM
By the way, last time I was at the Fairgrounds, I looked around to see exactly what needed to be renovated.....I wouldn't know where to start. Everything seems to be falling apart. I will give them some credit though. At least all of the building facades got a face lift last year. But the grounds look horrible. Several of the ligh fixtures around the fairgrounds are from the 60's and badly need replacing.