By: James Pruitt
THE VILLAGE REPORTER
Unless the Williams County Fair Board throws an olive branch its way – and soon, the Fair Foundation will go into deep hibernation.
The Foundation reiterated its intention to cease being an active organization unless called upon in the coming months. The decision comes after years of crumbling relations with the Fair Board.
Foundation President John McDonald said the organization’s fundraising has been hampered by the fair board’s decision to charge rent for foundation events on the fairgrounds. The rents in some cases have erased any surplus.
As a result, its coffers are slight and notions the Foundation could donate $25,000 to the proposed goat barn project are unfounded, McDonald said.
The issue came up when 4-H parent Amy Kennedy asked the Foundation board if it would support the barn with a donation. Her club has raised $1,000 so far through various fundraisers, she said.
The Fair Board will be applying for a $50,000 matching grant from the state for the barn. The fair can borrow the money if necessary, Vice President Brian Weiland has stated previously.
McDonald said the Foundation would make some sort of donation, but the board has to wait for a committee to decide how much the organization can afford. When the amount is determined, the money will be given to Kennedy’s 4-H club so it will be used for the barn, he said.
The Foundation’s meeting was held at the Hillcrest Country Club instead of the Thaman Building at the Fairgrounds because McDonald said he wouldn’t “beg” for a key.
The fair board recently had the locks changed for the buildings in a move to increase security.
The Foundation is also angered by the Fair Board’s attitude that all the money it raises must be given to the fair’s general fund. The foundation supports other groups and causes and has the freedom to choose where the money goes, McDonald said.
The Foundation’s next meeting will be July 14 at a location to be determined.
James Pruitt may be reached at