Williams County Fair Board Talks Issues With Foundation


Selling chicken WEBBy: James Pruitt

After months of discord, representatives of the Williams County Fair Board are upbeat peace can be achieved with the Fair Foundation.

Representatives from each entity met recently so the foundation could air its grievances. Fair board President Dave Page thought the meeting went well and came out feeling positive.

Fair Board Vice President Brian Weiland presented two concerns to the board from the foundation. One is the fate of all the roasters that used to be housed in the kitchen of the Thaman Building, he said.

“They don’t know who took them; they don’t care who took them,” Weiland said. “They didn’t tell us how many they are missing, but they know they are missing some.”

On top of that question, the foundation would like clarification on which items the fair owns and which are owned by the foundation. Weiland has no idea what the breakdown is. The county commissioners own the building, while there is equipment bought by fair board members, foundation members and others.

He and Page believe that anything purchased to improve the fairgrounds is owned by the fair.

The fair foundation would like to have discussions on it taking back control of the kitchen. The kitchen is rented through 2017.

Chuck Wallace suggested the foundation get control of the kitchen as long it assumes responsibility for all utilities. The fair board said it has seen a drop of several hundred dollars by shutting off electricity and water to the kitchen when not in use.

“When we shut down the freezer and the fridge, our light bill dropped $200 a month,” Page said. “That’s $200 bucks a month we’ve been paying to have them run it.

Fair Awarded Matching Grant
As far as the proposed goat barn, the foundation said it will issue a letter of intent to donate $2,000 to the Kidding Around 4-H club to go toward the barn.

The state awarded the fair a $50,000 matching grant for the goat barn so officials will commence with raising the required funds after the coming fair is completed. The grant application was approved the same day it was submitted, Page said.

“We are approved, the building is going forward,” Page said.

Weiland said people should keep the barn on the back burner until the fair is complete. After that, he will welcome ideas.

A reverse raffle is likely to be held in the fall and next spring.

Officials may seek additional money as there weren’t that many requests for grants.

“There is a lot of money left,”Page said.

Electric Sign Fundraising Order Placed
Fundraising for the electric sign is about halfway to the $17,000 goal. It takes 12 weeks to build. The board OK’d Page ordering the sign.

“We should have the money when the sign gets here,” Page said.

Farm Credit Services has donated several thousand dollars.

Water Valve Left On For Four Months
The fair got a surprise in its water bill when it was learned that a tap in the campground was turned on in the spring and left on for several weeks. The bill came to $1,110.97 which included 700 cubic feet of water..

The bill breaks down as follows:

$80 for the meter fee for four months running. The valve was leaking, so water ran the whole time, Page said.

$400 for the 2-inch meter fee for fourth months.

$250 for a tampering charge. “You don’t touch the city valves,” Page said. “They could file charges if they wanted to.”

$150 turn-on fee.

While access is not protected, it has never been a problem before. The fair board has the city turn on the water in the spring and off in the fall. This was an unauthorized turn-on.

Public Notices
Page reminds the public there is no ATV, UTV, mini-bike, golf carts allowed on the fairgrounds during the off season. “Those are limited to authorized events,” Page said.
There is also no fishing or swimming allowed outside of fair week, Page said.

“They have stole our signs,” he said. “We have to get new signs that say no fishing and there is still fishing there.”

Fair access limited to four gates
The fair is working with only four gates this year Board member Al Bennett said.

Gate 1 will be by the maintenance building.

Gate 2 will be on the south side of the bridge.

Old Gate 2 will be an access point for public safety vehicles and vendors and merchants.

Gate 3 will be the Safety Building. Genesis Health Care has covered staffing of the gate for the whole week.

Gate 4 is Livestock on North River Street.

Other groups have signed up for training. It will be some time in August.

Two-wheeled Tuesday Is being replaced with $2 Tuesday. Although Bennett asked the board to consider paving an area of the parking lot for bikes. He would prefer an area behind the horseshoe pits.

Each special interest group will have their own designated parking area at the fair this year. The area will be on the east side of the track. The areas will be marked out in 50 by 140-feet increments. Each group will get 25 passes that must displayed in a visible spot on the vehicle.

James Pruitt may be reached at

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