Fairgrounds to get new building for 2015 fair
The Jefferson County Fair Board has received $100,000 from local businesses to construct a new building at the fairgrounds.
Cambridge Investment Research has donated $50,000 for the new building, and First National Bank of Fairfield and Libertyville Savings Bank are each donating $25,000.
The new building will be west of the Jefferson County ISU Extension Office and will include a kitchen and two meeting rooms. Construction on the building will begin after the 2014 Greater Jefferson County Fair, and the building will be ready by the 2015 fair.
Jefferson County Fair Board treasurer Jared Schultz said the existing storage building west of the extension office will be torn down to make room for the new building, which will be 42-by-100 feet in area. He said the old storage building, known as the block building, no longer meets the demands placed upon it, and that the fair board has been planning to replace it for several years.
The $50,000 donation from Cambridge is the largest the fair board has ever received, Schultz said. Cambridge president Amy Webber said her company wanted to contribute to an institution that has been a tradition in the community for generations.
“Many dozens of our associates and their families are devoted to the fair, FFA, and 4-H as exhibitors, volunteers, and spectators every year and we are proud to be able to support all of these efforts by providing funding for this new facility,” she said.
Cambridge has sponsored events at the fair on an annual basis such as the fireworks display. The company offers a team of employees every year as gate volunteers during the fair.
First National Bank of Fairfield president Pat Hurley said his bank made the donation to show its support for the local farm economy and for 4-H in particular.
“It’s a wonderful program that provides opportunities for young kids, and we want to support that,” Hurley said.
The new building will supplement the existing activity building and allow open class exhibits to move to the new facility, while accommodating a variety of endeavors such as cooking, clothing, artwork, wood and metal exhibits. FFA and 4-H would have more space for their members to show exhibits during the fair.
Schultz said the new building will be available to rent during the year when the fair is not taking place. He said the activity building will remain the premiere location for large gatherings because it can accommodate 150-200 people. The new building will be able to hold close to 100 people. He said the advantage of the new building is that it will include a movable wall in the middle that could divide the large room into two small rooms if the need should arise.
Three buildings are oriented north and south immediately west of theactivity building. The middle of those three is the old block building that will be torn down to make room for the new building.
Schultz said he and the rest of the fair board are very excited to erect a new building at the fair grounds. He said the board was planning to draw from its own funds to build the structure, and is pleased to learn local businesses were willing to step up to make three large contributions.
The Greater Jefferson County Fair was formally established in 1947, but Fairfield holds the honor for hosting the first Iowa State Fair in 1854. This first ever event, held 160 years ago, drew an unprecedented record attendance for any event in the area at an estimated 8,000 people. Fairfield was also host to the second Iowa State Fair in 1855, followed by a rotation to multiple county hosts across the state from 1856 through 1878.
In addition to Schultz, the Jefferson County Fair Board currently includes Steve Fritchen, president; Mike Filson, vice president; Michelle Rauscher, secretary; Denny Thomes, Orville Brown, Terry Bonnett, Bryan Lauderman, Chad Reed, Larry Horton, Gavin Stacy, Tammy Jones, Richard Heald, Korwin Hinshaw and Richard Alexander.
Alongside the fair board, numerous volunteers across the area oversee and staff the annual event every year in late June, with the next fair running June 25-30. For more information on volunteering or attending, visit www.jeffersoncofair.com.