West Side Spotlight: Larry Mullenax and Jeff Kooring


This month, we met with Larry Mullenax and Jeff Kooring of the Utah State Fairpark for our West Side Spotlight! Larry is the interim Executive Director and Jeff is the Director of Sales and Marketing for the Utah State Fair Corporation. As we have previously reported, this was a very successful legislative session for the Fairpark. With the help of the Fairpark Community Council and other west side leaders, legislation was passed that effectively resolved the lease issue, made changes to the governing structure and appropriated funding for deferred maintenance. One positive piece of the legislation is that the new Board overseeing the Fairpark will include a member who lives in the neighborhood who will represent the viewpoint of the community. The City and State have shown serious commitment to keeping the Utah State Fairpark where it is for years to come.

“This summer, we are looking forward to lots of fun events at the Fairpark, in addition to the Fair in September (9/8-18),” said Mullenax. Kooring added, “We’ve got great events coming like the Artists Blacksmiths Association of North America biennial conference which will have thousands of international metal artists, educational events and markets (7/13-16). The Vans Warped Tour (7/30) is coming back and will bring thousands of concert goers. The Utah Beer Festival (8/27) will move from Washington Square to the Fairpark this year and the proceeds will benefit the Utah Humane Society.”

Keeping our rodeo traditions alive, the Hispanic Rodeo is coming (6/5) and there will also be four weekends of barrel racing starting in June. Other fun events include a Black Light Fun Run, the Regional Pokémon Tournament and the Foam Glow 5K. “Jeff and his team have done such a fantastic job bringing in events, we have to be careful because we are getting them so close together.” The Annual Scottish Festival will be coming in 2017 and there are rumors of the Days of ’47 rodeo coming to the Fairpark.

Check out utahstatefairpark.com for all event information.

“We are pretty excited for all the events coming this year and next!” said Mullenax. “There’s a lot to look forward to in the 10 years. This could be the next Sugarhouse and we are happy to be partnering with the Community Council.”

The Fairpark received $1.3 Mil in funds for capital improvements such as roof replacements and repairs, interior renovation of the Grand building, exterior light replacement and more. “We submitted over $9 Mil to the State Legislature for our deferred maintenance. You may not have noticed, but we have changed to all our exterior lights to LED, and right now we are replacing all our outdoor incandescent sconces, which will make the Fairpark more efficient and eliminates light pollution, which is a big plus,” said Mullenax.

“What we are really good at are festivals. That’s what makes the Fairpark unique. We’ve got the space, parking, facilities and a beer license. We are promoting festivals, not only locally, but we want to get national festivals here because it is good for the State,” said Mullenax. “We’re so busy. We are laser focused on meeting budget and securing new events. We can do what no one else can do in a large secure area, and we need to start brining those larger events here where they belong, instead of clogging major arteries in the City.”

“For the Fair, the circus will be here for all 11 days this year and acts from Cirque de Soleil will be here. The week before the Fair starts, one of the high wire acts will attempt to exceed the Guinness Book of World Records for jumping rope on the high wire. KSL will be the media sponsor of the Fair this year so that’s great for the Fair. The Demolition Derby is also coming back. Lots of exciting things to look forward to,” said Kooring.

If you have questions about upcoming events or need to report something to the Fairpark like a broken sprinkler head, damage or other non-criminal activity, call 538-8400. There are exciting things coming to the Fairpark! And we are definitely looking forward to all the summertime fun.