Crisis management preparation of Wisconsin county fairs
Crayton, Jenna L.
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More than three million people attend Wisconsin county fairs every year attributing $150 million to the state economy (Wisconsin Association of Fairs, 2016). County fairs, like many other tourist events have inherent risk for crisis. It is important for county fairs to be prepared to manage the many crisis situations that can happen at their events. To aid in proper crisis management, organizations need to implement a crisis management plan. This study investigated Wisconsin county fairs’ crisis preparation and management. This was done to create recommendations for better fair crisis management practices. The recommendations are meant to aid Wisconsin and other states’ county fairs prepare for crisis and continue to create a positive experience and image of fairs and agriculture in the mind of the fair attendees. A descriptive research design that collected multiple forms of data was used in the study to investigate the research objectives. The qualitative method used in the study was face-to-face and telephone interviews. The quantitative method used to collect data in the study was the utilization of a crisis management plan evaluation tool. It was found in this study that most Wisconsin county fairs have a crisis plan of some form they utilize during fair events. The plans that the fairs have in place make an effort to follow the Mitroff’s Five-Stage Model for Crisis Management. There is much work they have to do to create an all-inclusive crisis management plan for the fairs to be better prepared for their most challenging and common crisis they face of severe weather and lost children crises. Although, further research is needed on this topic, this study has laid the groundwork for improving the preparation and management of Wisconsin county fair crisis events.