Front gate to remain free at county fair
The Jefferson County Fair Board plans to continue working with sponsorships, keep a free front gate for the annual county fair, and has plans for capital improvements to the fairgrounds.
Jared Schultz, treasurer of the Jefferson County Fair Board brought an annual report and proposed budget request to the county supervisors’ Monday meeting.
“Our sponsorship program really helps in years when fair attendance is down,” said Schultz.
“We had a good year in 2011-12,” he said. “Our attendance was up from the previous year with more than 7,500 people coming through the front gate during the fair June 27 through July 2.”
The 2012 Greater Jefferson County Fair brought in a total of $75,027 in receipts, with no admission charged to enter the grounds. Total 2012 fair expenses were $71,869.
The largest amount of income, $40,156, was from grandstand sales — tickets sold to watch events throughout the fair days. The second highest income was $22,500 from sponsorships.
Other events hosted throughout the year at the fairgrounds brought in $48,879. The total non-fair income for the year, including the county’s annual $23,000 contribution, was $90,070. Total non-fair expenses were $49,668 for the year.
Annual total receipts of fair and non-fair income was $165,097. Total expenses were $155,551.
“We continue to work very closely with the Jefferson County Extension Service to not only provide top quality 4-H and FFA programs for the youth in our county but to also provide valuable education program for all residents of Jefferson County,” said Schultz. “Our county is one of the few counties in the state that has been increasing in numbers of youth involved in 4-H programs.”
Schultz pointed out past and recent capital improvements at the fairgrounds.
“We still have many projects working toward our long term goal of renovating the fairgrounds,” he said.
“Livestock entries at the fair continue to increase each year, and we are growing our livestock facilities. Our goal is to build one modern livestock complex to house all the livestock and tack during the fair as well as having its own show ring,” he said.
A modern livestock building would benefit the fair and also attract purebred livestock shows and sales, flea markets and other events that could be held in a large building under a roof, Schultz said. The estimated cost is $500,000.
The board will use buildings at Des Moines and Davis counties’ fairgrounds as models.
An addition to the current activity building was constructed for storage of chairs, tables and other equipment.
“This will allow us to tear down the existing block building that sits between the Extension Office and the west Morton building,” said Schultz. “We would construct something more useful there.”
The fair board discussed remodeling part of the block building, because the space is needed, but it was decided the building should be demolished.
“It has cracks in the floor and cracks in the brick walls,” said Schultz. “We’ll demolish it and tear up the floor then construct a building similar to the Extension Office, including possibly two conference rooms and restrooms. We may include a kitchen.
“We plan to tear down the block building after this summer’s fair.”
The estimated cost of this project is $150,000.
“We’re constantly amazed by the number of people who would like to use the campgrounds on a regular basis, before and after the fair,” said Schultz. “We continually receive requests to improve the campgrounds with restrooms, showers and water lines.”
He said the fair board would like to increase the capacity for campers, but it would require major renovations and adding a dump system.
“Our cost-estimate last year was $20,000, but adding more spaces and a dumping station has increased the estimate to $28,500. We are working with Access Energy to provide some materials and labor for the project,” said Schultz.
In the next seven years or so, the board would like to move and expand the track.
“Our goal is to move the track south and open the north part of the fairgrounds for additional commercial exhibit space as well as creating a boulevard from the livestock area to the track area where concessions could be served,” said Schultz. “It also would provide additional space for the midway.
“The track would be expanded from a quarter-mile track to a half-mile track for the purpose of holding harness racing.”
Schultz said this is a major project, and the board will seek grant money, donations and volunteer labor, but there will still be a need for heavy equipment and electrical and lighting work that won’t likely be donated. The estimated cost for this project is $575,000.
“I commend you and the fair board for all your work,” said supervisor Dick Reed. “A good county fair is important. Exhibitors have held steady the past five years.”
Supervisor Becky Schmitz also complimented the fair board.
“This is a really good investment for our community,” she said. “It’s a good investment to have these kids’ activities.”
Reed asked Schultz what he was looking for in terms of funding from the county this year.
“We’ve been running at $23,000 and have used it toward capital improvements,” said Schultz. “We’d like an additional amount because we’ll be funding a new building, and we’ll ask local businesses for support, too.”
Supervisor chairman Lee Dimmitt said the county fair creates good bonds among the people participating, and thanked the fair board for its work.
The 2013 Greater Jefferson County Fair is June 25 through July 1.