Clark County Fairgrounds begins first phase of rebranding

The Clark County Fairgrounds is now known as Champions Park. New banners were put up during the Clark County Fair. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF

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The Clark County Fairgrounds is now known as Champions Park. New banners were put up during the Clark County Fair. JEFF GUERINI/STAFF

The Clark County Fairgrounds has entered the first phase of a rebranding campaign designed to attract more tourism to the area.

As part of the rebranding process, the fairgrounds has raised 60 color-coded banners to promote the venue and Champions Park, Home of the Historic Clark County Fairgrounds - the name that will be used to market the venue, according to Dean Blair, Executive Director of the Clark County Fairgrounds.

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Champions Park is “not a replacement, but rather an additional name,” Blair said. “We are always going to be the Clark County Fairgrounds, but when you get people outside of this geographic region… you need a different umbrella name that creates that regional type awareness.”

The plan is to keep the banners up year-round. However they could be taken down for 90 days during the winter, Blair said.

“People seem to say it looks happy, and that’s exactly what we wanted,” Blair said. “After all, that’s what we’re all about.”

The rebranding is funded through a $50,000 grant from the Clark County Convention Facilities Authority, Blair said.

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The CFA is tasked by the state with collecting taxes on local hotel room stays. It uses the money to promote and improve local facilities and organizations to increase tourism in Clark County, said Dan Young, treasurer of the CFA.

The economic impact of tourism in Clark County was $417.2 million in 2017, said Chris Schutte, director of the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau.

About 40 to 50 percent of Springfield area visitors funnel through the Clark County Fairgrounds, Schutte told the Springfield News Sun in July.

The site will still be known as the Clark County Fairgrounds, but the new branding seeks to attract more attention for state and national events.

A national event like the Springfield F1 Grand Prix and Wake the Lake powerboat race, which will take place from Aug. 10 - 12, may be marketed as taking place at Champions Park, Home of the Historic Clark County Fairgrounds, for example.

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The rebranding process could also include new signage, website costs, literature, and other promotional materials.

The process must be completed by Dec. 31 Blair said.

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