|By TIM THORNBERRY
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Last year amid much fanfare, the Equine Affaire made its state debut at the Kentucky Exposition Center and was billed as the nation’s premiere equine exposition and equestrian gathering.
This year however, the fanfare has ended as so has the Equine Affaire’s affiliation with Kentucky.
Eugenia Snyder, president of Equine Affaire, Inc., said in a statement the company was committed to producing an outstanding premiere Equine Affaire in Kentucky, when it embarked on the project.
“In many respects, we accomplished our goal,” she said. “The event’s educational program was exceptional and designed to complement the program for the Ohio event. The trade show floor was sold out and showcased a remarkable variety of high-quality vendors and products, and the Pfizer Fantasia on Friday and Saturday nights was viewed by many as the best one we’ve produced, yet.”
Snyder said the post-event feedback from attendees at the Kentucky show was both positive and enthusiastic.
She quoted Lotta Dages of Louisville who wrote, “Just a note to let you know how much we enjoyed the Kentucky Show. We just planned for one day and went back Saturday and Sunday we liked it so well. The clinics were so great and informative. We really enjoyed the event. Please keep up all your good work.”
According to the company, despite the many rave reviews by last year’s attendees, and in spite of the lineup of presenters and extensive efforts to market the event, overall attendance at the premiere Kentucky Equine Affaire was disappointing for many exhibitors at the show as well as for the management of Equine Affaire.
“Given all that was done to produce a high-quality, attractive event and market it to horse people throughout the Midwest, it is somewhat of a mystery as to why the show was not better attended,” said Snyder.
“The horse industry in the region was not strong enough to support Equitana (the name of the event) in Louisville, and horse people did not respond in adequate numbers to support Equine Affaire this past year. Because I am not confident that attendance could be increased in the future through any particular change in how the event is produced or marketed, I have had to reach the difficult decision to discontinue production of Equine Affaire in Louisville. Unfortunately, we cannot, in good faith, ask our many loyal exhibitors to invest again in a venue and market that did not adequately support Equine Affaire in 2005.”
Becky Schappert, an exhibitor and owner of Wolf Creek Pewter, concurred.
“I have to agree with Ms. Snyder, being a vendor from the other shows,” she said.
“I’m not so sure it wouldn’t have done better in time. But none of the vendors did well at the Louisville show and most of them are the same vendors at the Ohio and Massachusetts shows where we have better attendance. It may have been that the show was so spread out in the Louisville venue. Kentucky is a great horse place with great horse people. I think if they were to continue it here with better organization it would be a great place to have it.”
Snyder added, “On behalf of the rest of the Equine Affaire team, I would like to thank all of the enthusiastic horse people who attended and volunteered at the premiere Equine Affaire in Kentucky, as well as the vendors who embarked on this new endeavor with us. We will continue in our commitment to produce the nation’s premiere equine expositions and equestrian gatherings in Ohio, Massachusetts, and California.”
The next Equine Affaire will be April 6-9, 2006, in Columbus, Ohio.
This farm news was published in the March 22, 2006 issue of Farm World.