State Fair of Virginia files for Ch. 11 Bankruptcy

DOSWELL, VA (WWBT) -- Funnel cakes, rides and now Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection. That's what the State Fair of Virginia is dealing with tonight.

It's a move that comes as a shock to many. We talk to an economist to find out what this all means.

We are learning that State Fair leaders intend to hold the State Fair as usual, next fall. But, leaders say filing for this move was a necessity. The group is not behind on its payments, but they don't want to fall behind either.

These are the normal sights and sounds of the State Fair: animals --- rides -- food -- and fun.

But it's not exactly all fun and games right now for fair leaders. The State Fair of Virginia is voluntarily in chapter 11 bankruptcy protection to restructure its debt.

Not the news you expect to hear, even for economist David Brat.

"You think of a state entity as the State Fair, but then you have stable friends that got hit by the downturn too," he said.

State Fair leaders say attendance for the annual fall event is solid. In fact, there was a 32% percent jump in attendance at this year's event at the Meadow Event Park. A park, leaders say, is getting a lot of use, as well.

The culprit here, the Stock Market. The State Fair put a lot of money into a portfolio back in 2007. Then, we all know what happened. The stock market tanked and so too did those funds.

"We're just going to keep our fingers crossed. You go through a bankruptcy, it doesn't mean all is over. But, you restructure and line up a business plan as best you can," said Brat.

What's happening with the State Fair of Virginia, is similar to what American Airlines is going through now and GM and Delta have dealt with before.

"I'm sure they are going to get their house in order and keep us all happy at the fair," added Brat. Hundreds of thousands can only hope.

The State Fair of Virginia President says this is the best way to solve the problem. He's optimistic the group will emerge on the other side of this. He hopes to emerge from it all in 60 to 90 days.

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