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Fair Board reviews 2016 with supervisors, looks to future

By Staff | Aug 10, 2016

Beer garden option discussed

by Amy H. Peterson

Staff Writer

Brian Rosburg said the 2016 Emmet County Fair had one of the biggest turnouts of any recent fair.

This was true in the big picture, even though the livestock numbers were dwindling.

Supervisor Tim Schumacher said, “I received a lot of compliments on the bouncy rides this year.”?

The tractor pull also had a particularly good turnout with 180 tractors pre-registered and six to 10 more added last minute. One potential contestant traveled a great distance from a few states southwest of Iowa, and never unloaded his tractor due to not being allowed to go 8 mph. The regulation states 5 mph.

Rosburg?said,?”We put in $18-20,000 this year for improvements.”

The Fair Board has an idea next year for a band as a paid event. The lead singer of Farm Rock, this year’s band, is also a promoter. The Fair Board’s responsibility would be for bathrooms, security, and sourcing a local bar owner for the beer garden.

“We would out source the liquor license and dram shop,”?Rosberg said.

Cami Paulson pointed out that people call the extension to say, “We don’t need a beer garden.”

Fair director Betty Fiddler said, “We’re about 10 years behind other fairs.”?

Supervisor Alan Madden said, “Fifty years ago, we did have a beer garden at the fair. It’s a sad thing to say, perhaps, but it draws people.”?

The Fair Board said 80 to 90 percent of Iowa fairs have a beer garden. The ones that don’t are close to shutting their doors at this point, Rosburg?said.

The beer garden would be limited to evenings. It would be at non-4-H and FFA events. The earliest start time might be at 5 for the Cattleman’s supper.

John Pluth said, “You could definitely open up the operation of it to bar owners in the county.”

The Fair Board also discussed building improvements at the fair grounds.

“The roof on the Armory is wonderful, but the show barn leaks and the exhibit building and Skateland definitely need new roofs.”?

At Skateland, “she coated it 10 years ago, and caulked and tarred the cracks. We’re going to have to look into it in the near future.”

Alan Madden said, “These buildings are 40 plus years old.”

Madden said, “The show barn is far from ideal for any of the species we showed. The tent worked better because they could put it where they wanted it.”

Rosburg said, “Where do you stop spending money when you have fewer people??You go to the Kossuth and Palo Alto fairs and they have the same thing going on. We might even see ourselves as being part of a district fair, instead of counties.”?

Schumacher said, “We may find in five years we are doing a different kind of fair.”

Pluth said, “I? think it’s important to keep expanding and looking at new ideas.”

In other business, the Board of Supervisors certified the results of the Armstrong special mayoral election. The results were 210 votes for Greg Buum, and 201 votes for Patty Thackery.