Improvements for 2018 already in the works –
By Patricia Beech –
Photos by Mark Carpenter –
Although many county fairs across the state and nation have experienced declining attendance in recent years, rumors of the imminent demise of county fairs haven’t yet reached Adams County.
The 2017 fair, which started Sunday, July 9 and concluded the following Saturday, drew over 20,000 fair-goers with gate revenues nearing the $200,000 mark.
While the fair continues to plow the same ground it has for 126 years – providing a venue for 4-H members to showcase their projects, the Senior Fair Board members set a broader goal – create a fair that will appeal to people not involved in 4-H or agriculture. Events such as the demolition derbies and rodeo are examples that appeal to other groups and fill the grandstands.
Senior Fair Board President Liz Lafferty says she believes the board has not only met, but exceeded that goal.
“By the end of fair week I had so many people offering to do things for next year,” said Lafferty. “When people see successful progress they want to be involved, they want to put their efforts into something they know will work.”
While the fair remains true to its roots, Lafferty says the Senior Fair Board members are focused on ways to bring in funding and finding the best uses for the fairgrounds during the 11-plus months when there is no fair.
“We are running a business here, and we have to bring in money to survive,” she says. “We’ll be starting on the fairground’s new shelter house next week, which will provide rental income for us and a place for the public to hold meetings and receptions.”
In addition to the shelter house, the board will oversee improvements in the goat barn, purchase two large eight-bladed industrial fans for the show arena, and begin construction of a new center ring gazebo/stage, which Lafferty hopes will bring many 4-H fair activities back to the center ring.
“We want to use it for Junior Fair,” she said. “The Cloverbud graduation, Style Review, 4-H awards, we want to bring all those back into the center ring staging area where they belong.”