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2004 County Fair set for third week of July


Fri, Aug 8th, 2003
Posted in Features

Fair board members met Tuesday night, August 5 at the County Office Building conference room to evaluate their efforts and discuss results from the recent county fair.

President Tracy Hanson, Chatfield, Vice-President Jim Nelson, Ostrander, and Secretary/Treasurer Lolly Melander, Lanesboro, led the meeting as more than 10 directors shared their views on the fair.

"Thanks for all the help, when asked for help, it got done." noted Hanson as the meeting’s agenda opened up with checking account activity. With a balance of $2,681.80, Hanson said everything had been paid with the exception of a few miscellaneous items. The board reviewed a detailed report on expenses and income for the fair. Expenses tallied up to $56,914.43; income penned out at $63,763.55. Some funds are still trickling in as the bookwork is being completed.

A considerable expense this year was electrical work that included underground wiring, coming in at just over $11,000. The work, done by Morem Electric, Harmony, was completed below the initial quote. Another major expense included the re-siding of the grandstand, where a lot of donated labor was used to complete the work. A new "fix-it" list is being started including restroom work, some roof repair, and the consideration of possibly opening up the old school house during fair week.

Dates for the 2004 Fair

A major discussion focused on next year’s date for the fair, as members have been receiving calls asking when it will be held.

The board considered two key points in making a final decision: 1) What other activities are going on in the county at fair time; and, 2) When is this year’s carnival available for next season?

Hanson pointed out that Racine’s and Rushford’s community events also ran during the third week in July this year. (Past fairs have run during the fourth week of July.)

The board agreed that grandstand events were effected to some degree with these outside activities. The carnival can guarantee the third week for next year. If the board pushed for the less congested fourth week, however, the carnival’s owner won’t be able to confirm until sometime in the fall due to another event the carnival is scheduled for. This sounded risky to board members.

It was noted by many members and fair goers as to how clean the carnival was, the variety of rides, no breakdowns, and that there weren’t any problems reported by the Sheriff’s Department.

Board member Kathy Tesmer pointed out how tough it is to get a good carnival and that the board should go with the third week of July if the fourth week can’t be confirmed immediately. The rest of the group agreed.

Hanson said it would be the same contract as this year, which means the board must put $2,000 up front and sell advance tickets to re-coup the money, and agree to a list of food vendors that come with the carnival so as not to have similar local vendors competing. Hanson will make a call to the owner and secure a final date this week.

4-H Program

Lee Ann Williams, the county’s 4-H Program Coordinator, addressed the board briefly. Williams commented on the support shown by the board during the hectic week.

"The overall support was excellent. Whenever we asked for something there was a group of Fair Board members who would come and take care of whatever we needed. The entire board worked together very well and achieved wonderful success,” stated Williams. She appreciated the help with a lost rabbit, the issue of animals leaving the grounds early, and support with the milking parlor during the fair. Board members using radios were very efficient in communicating problems and cutting down the reaction time. Overall, Williams was very pleased with the end results.

Regarding animals leaving early, Hanson said a large number of horses had been tied to trailers and stalls had been cleaned well before the designated 7:00 p.m. exit time. It has been the fair’s policy to keep animals in place until 7:00 p.m. on Saturday to help draw in fair goers until grandstand activities have started. This issue will be addressed again in the future.

The lost/stolen rabbits owners will be contacted to inquire about the replacement value of the animal. In the past, the owner of an animal that has died during the fair is normally reimbursed for its loss. The incident is still being investigated.

Steve Jones, rabbit project leader, also noted the project lost approximately $273 from its raffle money funds because of "sticky fingers". This is still being reviewed.

Other business

•The free attractions such as the snake and monkey exhibit, and wood carver drew in good crowds. The board will continue to look at this form of entertainment. Other grandstand suggestions included truck & tractor pulls, motocross racing, and hosting the demolition derby on Saturday night. No action was taken.

• Steve Jones, Cherry Grove, rabbit project leader, will be reimbursed for the purchase and building of fairground gates, a window, and a 30" wall fan totaling $655. Bleachers made by Jones will remain with the rabbit project. The rabbit committee will also be responsible for a spreader and trailer used during the fair.

• Jerry Tesmer, Extension Office, is putting together criteria for a late charge on rental space that isn’t vacated by the May deadline.

•The Conservation Building must be drained and readied for winter.

•Next week board members will meet to prepare the Commercial Building for winter storage including moving the glass exhibit cases off to the sides of the building. The old school house will be inspected for possible future repairs. A leaky roof on the old dairy barn will be looked at as well.

• St. Columban’s Catholic Church will be storing pews in the Commercial Building for about three months during their renovation project. The courthouse is also storing some furniture during their construction.

• There had been an inquiry from a dairy group that would like to host an open youth show at the grounds. A figure of $500 per day, $1,000 deposit, and the show being responsible for the manure and garbage collection was discussed. No action was taken.

• A rental list for grounds/building usage will be put together and made available to board members for inquiries.

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