Officials seek input on future of Union County Fair

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Fair officials are looking at not only this year’s fair and next year’s fair, but also the county fair for years to come.
Fair officials said they have enlisted the services of an outside firm to “help us reposition our Union County Fair to better benefit our kids and community.”
“We will be conducting a leadership assessment process that requires input from our entire community as to what are the best steps moving our fair forward,” Fair Board member Michelle Kuhlwein said.
Fair Secretary Angie Grose said the assessment will help the fair board decide, “Are we going to improve the fairgrounds here? Are we going to move the fairgrounds? What does the community want us to do?”
Kuhlwein said portions of the fairgrounds need repair or replacement.
“We need to make some improvements at the grounds, but we don’t want to move forward with this if we aren’t sure it is what the community wants,” Kuhlwein said.
The local agricultural society owns the 48 acres of ground where the fair is held. Officials said the consultant will look at ideas like improving the barns, buildings and grounds or moving the fair to a different location and using the current fairgrounds for something different, possibly a multi-purpose building.
“We need to make some decisions about what we think would be the best use of our grounds — for the children first, but also to bring people to Union County and Marysville,” Kuhlwein said.
She added, “the children use the grounds one week a year, but the community uses it the rest of the year,” Kuhlwein said.
She said all non-profit organizations need to make changes and a large contributor has made the survey as well as many options a possibility.
“We are at a cross roads and we have an opportunity,” Kuhlwein said. “That is a great facility, but we do need some improvements and we just need to know what makes sense.”
As fair officials are looking at long term plans, they are also evaluating the fair that closed last week.
“Everything went really well,” Kuhlwein said of this year’s fair. “It was different and not like anything we had ever seen, but it went well.”
Grose said the fair has gotten, “nothing but positive feedback.”
She said that with mandates from the governor and many shows canceled, participants and buyers were happy to have a local fair.
“Everyone was very grateful that they had the opportunity to participate,” said Grose.
She said Saturday’s livestock sale was also a success.
Grose said buyers were “very generous with the kids.”
Richwood Bank officials confirmed the Jr. Livestock Sale raised $416,117.50 for Jr. Fair participants. Officials said a total of 295 participants sold animals.
Kuhlwein said fair officials are going to poll the community about the fair for next season.
“We are going to send out a survey asking people, ‘What did you miss?’” Kuhlwein said. “What would you want to see come back next year?”
She said the survey will help the board identify, “what the community thinks we should concentrate on.” She said fair board members want to make sure their priorities align with the community’s.
“You won’t know if you don’t ask,” Kuhlwein said.



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