June 1, 2012
By: John Clark
This week, the State Fair of Virginia and its home, the Meadow Even Park in Carolina County, will be sold in a foreclosure sale, although sources are not sure whether it will be sold as a whole entity or if the various assets will be sold to different buyers.
The foreclosure sale comes on the heels of a bankruptcy filing by SFVA Inc., the nonprofit organization that runs Virginia’s State Fair, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in late 2011 after defaulting on more than $75 million in overdue debt payments.
This March, the nonprofit group converted its case to a Chapter 7 filing, which allows the bankruptcy court to potentially sell the State Fair’s assets in order to meet its overdue loan payments.
Sources say, though, that the bankruptcy sale of the 360-acre fairgrounds could be called off if the nonprofit is able to reach a deal to sell the entire State Fair.
This sale would obviously include the fairgrounds and all the fair equipment, but it would also include more subtle features of the State Fair of Virginia, including the rights to use the fair’s current name and other pieces of intellectual property.
This week, the fair’s current owner is engaged in negotiations with its creditors that may allow it to sell the entire fair as a whole, rather than through a piecemeal approach, which would likely be far less lucrative.
Sources indicate that the fair has reached a tentative agreement with its creditors that would allow the state fair to be sold as a whole entity. The buyer would then have between $1 million and $2 million in available funds so it could hold the next fair, which is scheduled for September.
The extra operating cash could prove enticing to buyers who were nervous about taking the property without a guarantee that they could actually hold this year’s fair. While this deal is on the table, though, the bankruptcy court has yet to accept the terms of a proposed agreement.
Sources say that attorneys for both sides will meet in bankruptcy court this week to determine if they will be able to sell the fair as a whole or if they will have to auction off its constituent parts.
Fans of the Virginia State Fair are rooting for a speedy conclusion to this bankruptcy saga so they can enjoy the fair this fall.
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