Roughrider Days not so rough on economyThe familiar sights and sounds of the Roughrider Days Carnival will be heard today as the annual festival kicks off in the Prairie Hills Mall parking lot.
By: John Odermann, The Dickinson Press
The familiar sights and sounds of the Roughrider Days Carnival will be heard today as the annual festival kicks off in the Prairie Hills Mall parking lot.
For the last 39 years the Roughrider Days Fair and Expo has sought to give residents someplace to spend their Fourth of July weekend. The carnival is just a preview to the 39th annual event to be held June 26 through July 5. The event is quite the economic boon for the Queen City, business leaders say.
“This is the biggest economic event for us and social event, too,” Dickinson Area Conventions and Visitors Bureau Executive Director Terri Thiel said. “You’re looking at social impact and economic impact, too.”
Thiel said over the course of the event’s 10 days in 2008, approximately 26,700 people came through Dickinson, which amounted to $4.2 million impact in spending.
Each Roughrider Days event brings in various profits, Thiel said, but there tends to be something for everyone, from the Arts Roundup on the campus of Dickinson State University to the Roughrider rodeos.
The CVB and Stark County Fair Association supplement the majority of advertising for the event and the SCFA also sets aside $35,000 in grants each year to help with costs.
The event, which started because many Dickinson residents would leave over the Fourth of July, has become something that residents and former residents look forward too, said Lori Vernon, director of the Roughrider Commission, a group that helps organize the Roughrider Days rodeos, demolition derby, concerts, parade and fireworks display.
“During the Fourth of July you could practically roll a bowling ball down main street and not worry about hitting a soul,” Vernon said. “Now it’s grown to be just a very large event and very well supported by Dickinson businesses and residents.”
Beyond the immediate economic impact, Thiel said there are impacts that can’t be calculated on a spreadsheet.
It’s evolved to be a reunion, Thiel said, adding “sometimes (those returning) make connections and realize there’s jobs available that might fit their family. A lot of them have got aging parents or they’ve got young children and want to get out of a bigger city.”
Peggy O’Brien, Prairie Hills Mall manager, said the impact is felt throughout the community and they typically plan mall events to coincide with the festivities.
“The entire community is impacted by the number of people that are drawn to Dickinson during Roughrider Days,” O’Brien said.
Thiel and Vernon said the support from residents and businesses has been the key to making the event a success.
“There’s something for everybody and all those individual event organizers have worked very hard again to bring this to Dickinson and make it a great event,” Thiel said.
For more information and a schedule of events, visit www.roughriderdaysfair.com.