State Fair of Louisiana brings economic boost, return of jobs

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SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) — The State Fair of Louisiana opens its doors to the public Thursday, bringing back hundreds of jobs lost last year. The 10-day state fair is expected to give a nice boost to the economy.

Making up for lost time, there will be two state fairs in 2021. The spring fair takes place April 29 through May 9, while the fall fair begins on October 28. After a full year without the big celebration, vendors suffered greatly.

“We were devastated,” said Shawn McKinney, owner of McKinney Food Services. His staff is dishing out delicious turkey legs and lemonade, thankful to be back in the festival atmosphere. McKinney is the third generation owning the company; his grandpa founded it back in 1927.

“I’m just glad to be back working,” said Jackie Deramus, owner of Lakeside Concessions. This is Deramus’ 15th year returning to the State Fair of Louisiana. Despite losing multiple of his trailers in a March electrical fire, his company pulled through to work the event.

Hundreds of vendors are working hard to make up for the huge loss without 2020’s state fair.

“We’re recovering now and starting back and we’re excited. We think 2021 is going to be a big year because everyone’s ready to go,” McKinney said.

It’s the first spring edition of the Louisiana State Fair in its 115 year history. It generates up to 24 million dollars a year.

“It’s a huge economic impact,” said Chris Giordano, President and General Manager of the State Fair of Louisiana. “Not to mention the sales tax – those carnival rides out there pay a lot of sales tax to local and state economies as well.”

He says it’s time for the industry to bounce back.

“[For] employees that didn’t get an opportunity to work last year, it’s very beneficial to be able to have the spring fair so that we can get back to work.”

During this 10-day event, there’s a call for the community to support fair vendors.

“Everybody is really excited to be back doing what they used to do. Support your fair and we look forward to seeing and serving you,” McKinney said.

“We’ll see how it comes out we’re keeping our fingers crossed that people come” Deramus said.

A promising future lies ahead for vendors to work more often.

“We are seriously considering having two state fairs every year for the future, a spring and a fall,” Giordano said.

The State Fair of Louisiana is open through May 9. For more information, you can head to the fair’s website.

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