Indiana county fair GM to take reins as York Fair CEOLongtime CEO Michael Froehlich to retire Dec. 31
The general manager of the Elkhart County 4-H Fair and Agricultural Exposition in Indiana has been named the successor of longtime York Fair and York Expo Center CEO Michael Froehlich.
Froehlich is set to retire Dec. 31. In the interim, Bryan Blair will join the staff as COO and will be relocating to the area in August. The goal is to have him on board no later than Sept. 1, Froehlich said.
Blair said he intends to focus on promoting the York Expo Center and elevate the facility's regional presence, according to a news release.
"For many years, the people of York and southern Pennsylvania have taken a great deal of pride and ownership in this fair," Blair said in a statement. "I respect and admire that, and will be doing everything I can to continue the strong traditions of the York Fair while also working to bring a balance of fresh and new approaches that will keep the York Fair relevant for generations to come."
Attendance at the York Fair has been down in recent years. In 2016, the fair recorded its fourth-lowest attendance over the past 12 years, attracting more than 555,000 people over the course of 10 days. According to Froehlich, the highest estimated attendance in the past decade was 642,363 for the 2012 York Fair. Last year’s 2017 York Fair estimated attendance was 565,483. Froehlich said the main influence on attendance is the weather.
Blair became the general manager of the Elkhart County 4-H Fair and Agricultural Exposition in November 2014 following a six-year stint at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, where he was expositions administrator, managing sponsorships for the National Farm Machinery Show, Kentucky State Fair and the North American International Livestock Exposition.
Prior to joining the Kentucky Exposition Center staff, Blair was a charter board member and past president of the Taylor County Fair in Kentucky. He was also named the Kentucky Fair Person of the year in 2001 by the Kentucky Association of Fairs and Horse Shows.
This year marks 40 years in the fair and expositions industry for Froehlich. He has held leadership roles with the Ohio State Fair and Ohio Expo Center; the Georgia National Fair & Agricenter; and the past 10 years with the York Fair and York Expo Center.