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New shelter debuts at county fairgrounds

By Staff | Jun 10, 2016

Jody Anderson, president of the Webster County Fair Board, relaxes in the new 30-foot-by-50-foot shelter house just completed on the fairgrounds in rural Fort Dodge. Anderson said Webster County Farm Bureau kicked in $10,000 for construction of the shelter. It will be where the annual sweet corn feed will be during the county fair, plus Farm Bureau’s Kid’s Day on Saturday of the fair. The shelter will also be available to reserve for other community gatherings and events throughout the year, Anderson said.

By LARRY KERSHNER

kersh@farm-news.com

FORT DODGE – Webster County Fairboard members, fairgrounds staff and other volunteers are busy preparing for the 2016 edition of the Webster County Fair, set for July 13-17.

The newest addition to the grounds that will greet visitors immediately is a new 30-by-50-foot park shelter, sitting where the annual sweet corn feed is held during fair week.

Webster County Farm Bureau supplied $10,000 toward construction of the shelter, Anderson said. Besides the corn feed, it will be where Farm Bureau will hold its annual Kid’s Day during fair week.

Anderson said the shelter will be available for community gatherings and functions throughout the year. It can be reserved by calling the fair office at (515) 955-3764.

He said it’s the newest structure since the Des Moines River Antique Tractor Club added structures in the early 1990s. “I’m glad we have those,” he said of the antique club’s buildings, adding that it keeps the fair and local agriculture tied together.

Improvements

Anderson, who is serving in his fourth year with the board, said a portion of the camping spots near the vendor area has been moved to the far edge side of the west parking area to make room for additional vendors. MidAmerican Energy ran utility lines to the 12 new camping sites and the board is waiting for the service to be hooked up to outlets.

Meanwhile, vendors for this weekend’s flea market started flowing onto the grounds on Wednesday. Anderson said this June flea market is usually the biggest, most attended of the season.

Another improvement in 2015, Anderson said, was installing a radiant heating system in the indoor arena that allowed for a winter rodeo, a first for the fairgrounds.

The heating system cost was about $5,000, he said.

Future projects

Anderson said the fairboard has developed a wish list of facility improvements and upgrades and will hope to find financial backers to help spruce up the fairgrounds.

“We’re all about the fair here,” Anderson said. “We’re here for the kids here and to keep the ag end up during the fair.”

In the indoor arena, he points to the insulation that is peeling away from the roof.

“We priced the cost of spray insulation,” Anderson said. “It’d be cheaper to put up a new building.”

He said a revamping of the arena’s restrooms is needed as well.

He said the barns that currently serve rabbits, poultry and swine all need replacing.

All three of those were original buildings moved here, during the 1960s, from the former fairground location, part of which comprises the campus of Iowa Central Community College.

In the auditorium building, the interior meeting rooms have a fresh coat of paint, but the kitchen is in need or updating.

That’s a project that is close to the head of the fairboard’s do-list, Anderson said.

The board is planning a fundraiser to accumulate the dollars for new countertops, cupboards and stainless steel appliances to bring the kitchen up to state food-handling code.

Although the space is still functional and clean, it’s never been upgraded since the day the building was erected, Anderson said.

Fair support

The fairboard is again offering sponsorships to help defray the cost of hiring judges, contracting entertainment and paying fair premiums. The sponsorships include:

A). Red Ribbon Club – $100: Donors will receive five rodeo tickets, 10 grandstand tickets and a hog raffle ticket.

B). Blue Ribbon Club – $250: Donors will receive five rodeo tickets, 20 grandstand tickets and a hog raffle ticket.

C). Purple Ribbon Club – $500: Donors will receive 10 rodeo tickets, 40 grandstand tickets and a hog raffle ticket and a 4-by-4-foot sign.

D). Silver Ribbon Club – $1,000: Donors will receive 10 rodeo tickets, 40 grandstand tickets and a hog raffle ticket and a grandstand sign.

E). Gold Ribbon Club – $1,500: Donors will receive 15 rodeo tickets, 60 grandstand tickets and a hog raffle ticket and a grandstand sign.

Grandstand events during the fair include the Tuff N Nuff Miniature rodeo; races – Figure 8, trailer, go-kart (for freewill donations), and the Clint Pringle Memorial.

Other shows during fair week include the Little Miss Webster County Contest, 7 p.m., July 13 in the east auditorium; Bill O’Reilly Talent Search, 7 p.m. July 14 in the east auditorium; Des Moines River Valley Antique Tractor Pull, 2 p.m. July 16; Midwest Rock & Soul Revue, 7 p.m,., July 15; and BBQ Beef Cookoff competition, cooking starts at 6:30 a.m. and judging at 2:30 p.m. July 16 in the new park shelter.

The Webster County Fair 4-H/FFA events include:

1). July 13: 8:30 a.m., dog show.

2)> July 14: 9a.m. Sheep show, followed by meat goat show; 9 4-H rabbit show; 10 a.m. Open rabbit show for youths kindergarten through third-grade; 5 p.m. Swine show; 5:15 p.m. Pee wee poultry show; 5:30 p.m. 4-H poultry show

3). July 15: 8:45 a.m. Pee wee bucket bottle calf show; 9 a.m. 4-H/FFA beef show; 9a.m. 4-H Horticulture judging; 2 p.m. Barnyard olympics; 6 p.m. 4-H Cat Show; 6:30 p.m. Open Swine Show

4). July 16: 9:15 a.m. Working exhibits; 10 a.m. 4-H horse show; 7 p.m. 4-H/FFA market animal ribbon auction.

5). July 17: 9a.m. 4-H horse show-games classes; 12:30 p.m. 4-H pet show; 1:30 p.m. Share the Fun; 6:30 p.m. Parade of Champions.

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