Commissioners award $ 500,000 to agricultural society for county fair

LANCASTER – Fairfield County Commissioners on Tuesday approved a $ 500,000 prize for the Fairfield County Agricultural Society to help organize the county fair this year and next.

The money comes from the US federal bailout to deal with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The purpose of the money is to support things related to tourism and the travel industry that have been negatively affected by the pandemic.

For example, last year the county fair board only held a junior fair, with no rides, entertainment, or anything else that the fair traditionally has. Fair director Jim Marcinko said the fair board lost about $ 170,000 due to the lack of a full fair.

The money will go towards fair operations in 2021 and 2022 as well as painting the historic buildings at the fairgrounds, improving technology, and repaving a small portion of the road that was used when the building was built. Ed Sands served as the COVID-19 vaccination site.

“It is badly needed,” Marcinko said. “It will help us to catch up with what we couldn’t do last year without having a fair. It is a good thing not only for us but for the community. Because it allows us to keep the fairgrounds. beautiful and up to date.

“I see us as sort of the centerpiece of Lancaster because we’re practically in the center of Lancaster. It’s something the community uses, so it’s good for everyone I think.”

Commissioner Dave Levacy said fair time is a time of hope.

“The County Fair is a celebration that everyone is looking forward to and it’s something we need as we collectively come out of the pandemic,” he said.

County administrator Carri Brown said about 100,000 people are expected to attend the fair this fall. She said the money will also help the board organize four more events at the fairgrounds throughout the year.

Commissioner Steve Davis said the Commissioners and Brown had met with the fair board on several occasions to understand how the effects of last year’s reduced fair had hurt the board.

“It was not very good,” he said of the situation. “They were having issues. So, to be able to help them in that regard and make the fair run and run smoothly, I’m really excited about it.”

Davis also said the relationship between the commissioners and the fair’s board of directors will see a positive change because of the money.

“I think our ability to be of service to them in the longer term is at stake, be it in terms of time, talent or money,” he said. “I look forward to this recalibrated relationship.”

Davis said the relationship between the commissioners and the fair’s board of directors has always been good. However, he said the commission sometimes thinks all is well for the board when it is not always. Davis said discussions with the board have given Commissioners the opportunity to learn how they can be of greater use in the future.

The County Fair will be held October 10-16 at the Fairgrounds located at 157 E. Fair Ave.

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Twitter: @JeffDBarron

Lana T. Arthur