New State Fair Owner: The show will go on

Posted at 2:05 PM, Jul 19, 2012
and last updated 2012-07-19 14:06:22-04

CAROLINE COUNTY, Va (WTVR) -The new owner of the State Fair of Virginia says he  never intended to purchase the entire 330 acre Meadow Event Park, but when he got to the auction in May, the price was too good to resist.

Today Mark Lovell, owner of Universal Fairs LLC, appeared for the first time with his new partner in operating the event, the Virginia Farm Bureau.

Lovell told CBS 6 he initially only wanted to buy the naming rights to the State Fair of Virginia, but he quickly found out the fair was only being sold as a package deal, bundled with the sprawling event park, along with horse stables and memorabilia.

He says after he found out, he wrote his absolute maximum price on what he would place on the palm of his hand. When it appeared the bidding wouldn’t get anywhere close to that number, he threw his hat in the ring–and came out the winner.

The price: $5.6 million.

“There were no intentions,” Lovell said. “I came up here to buy some things to take back home. I always try to be prepared, and I came prepared to buy it in case things got silly, and it did. I feel very fortunate I was prepared to buy. I got a great deal on it.”

Lovell called rumors that he only intended to buy the fair, just to quickly turn it around for a profit baseless.

He also declined to divulge the financial details of his partnership with the Virginia Farm Bureau. They announced just last month that they would be teaming up to run the event.

The state fair is set to open on Sept. 28th, and Lovell says preparations are already well underway to welcome in the more than 250,000 people that will visit Meadow Event Park over the course of two weeks.