Mississippi Valley Fair organizers look to make the Fair a regional attraction

DAVENPORT -- While fair-goers see the Fair as fun, organizers see it as a business.

And the organizers of the Mississippi Valley Fair want their business to grow into an attraction that's not exclusive to Davenport and Scott County.

"We serve a much greater audience, a regional audience," said Fair Board Chairman Mike Vondran.

Fair General Shawn Loter hopes to keep it that way.

More than once a day, Loter or another Fair official will drive around the parking lot looking at cars. Or, more specifically, car license plates.

They see plates from nearby counties, far away states, and more and more from Illinois.

According to Vondran, their audience is 50/50 when it comes to visitors from Iowa and Illinois.

But those aren't the only states.

"We get people that call in from all over: Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, Minnesota," said Vondran, "There's a whole audience out there of folks that just love fairs and they'll find good fairs, they will seek them out."

Organizers says this is a Fair ready to hit new heights within the next two years.

In 2019, the Fair will turn 100 years old.

"That's our goal, to have everything fixed up. Next year's project is the grandstand, it's going to have a facelift as well," said Loter.

This year's fair saw a renovated entry way, a refurbished tower, and paved parking lots.

They're improvements designed to take the Fairgrounds into a new Century of use, making this Fair much more of an attraction.

"You could spend a vacation here," said Vondran, "people do, families do."