By: Louis Llovio | Richmond Times-Dispatch
Published: July 07, 2012
RICHMOND, Va --
Virginia Farm Bureau Federation has bought a 50 percent stake in the State Fair of Virginia, putting the fair partly back in the hands of local owners.
Tennessee-based Universal Fairs LLC, which bought the assets and trademarks to the fair at a foreclosure auction in May, sold the stake for an undisclosed amount.
The new partnership will be called Commonwealth Fairs and Events LLC.
"Ever since the fair went under, we thought the Virginia Farm Bureau ought to be involved in reviving it," Greg Hicks, vice president of communication for the Goochland County-based statewide farm advocacy group, said Friday.
SFVA Inc., the nonprofit charged with putting on the annual fair, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December after defaulting on about $75 million in loans. SFVA converted the case to a Chapter 7 liquidation in March after it was unable to come up with a package to buy the State Fair that would satisfy a group of lenders.
Universal had the winning bid for the State Fair — including The Meadow Event Park as well as the State Fair of Virginia's trademark, name and Web presence — at the auction.
The company's owner, Mark Lovell, bid $5.35 million and paid $5.67 million once fees and commissions are added. The partnership closed on the deal Friday afternoon.