Members from the Wayne County Fair Board including President Justin Lain and Co-Vice Presidents Lance Lange and Dan May were present at the June 15 Board of Supervisors meeting to discuss planning details for the 2020 Wayne County Fair.
“We are here trying to be proactive as you know the fair isn’t until the last week of July into the first week of August,” Lain began. “It’s getting to be that time where we need to look into what will happen with the fair as far as what we are going to hold.”
“We began discussions with the Board of Health about a month ago as we began releasing statements that we would be having a fair but we were working together,” Lain continued. “This past Wednesday the Board of Health met and they made a policy that they did not recommend any fairs and festivals this summer.”
“Yes they recommended having no fairs and festivals but we can’t tell you not to,” said Supervisor and Board of Health member Tom Swearingin.
“Yes they wanted to see what the Iowa State Fair did and they released a statement that they were going to cancel,” said Lain. “Since that time they came out with more details and there is going to be a lot more happening than what everyone realizes at this time at the state fair but for contractual reasons they are postponed.”
Lain added the fair board has been working closely with the Iowa State Extension Office holding meetings to discuss how to move forward with a local county fair. It was noted the financials of the fair were a main factor in decision-making.
“The financials of the fair is the one thing we got hung up on,” said Lain. “We could move forward with just the 4-H livestock portion of the fair that involves kids and no entertainment. So for quick reference our budget for the fair is in that $145,000 range and if we removed off all of our entertainment costs which would be our tractor pull, the rodeo, face painters and all the kid’s games and entertainment stuff it would get our budget down to about $79,500.”
“As you know we get $10,000 from Wayne County every year and that would really be our only income we would have if we cancel the fair meaning, we can’t take in any gate money, we can’t send out sponsorships or letters to sponsors or any business,” stated Lain. “So here we are looking at about a $69,000 hole that we are trying to figure out how are we going to address this if we don’t have a fair.”
Lain continued stating they are at a point where they either need to figure out a way to obtain more money to cover the expenses or to move forward holding a full fair to the best of their ability. He noted a fair board meeting is scheduled for Thursday, July 2 where all township and directors at large will be invited to attend when a vote will be held to make the final decision.
“I have had the discussions with Shelley Bickel [Wayne County Public Health Administrator] asking her on some things we can do,” Lain added. “The statement she made that stuck with me is when she stated whatever we do, she is there to help us and work with us. I feel like she has been upfront with us and made it known how she can work with us. It’s just time for us to make a decision and move forward.”
The supervisors and Auditor Michelle Dooley all agreed Bickel has been a great asset to the community throughout the unexpected pandemic working long hours to keep the community healthy.
“I’d say later this week we are going to find out how contagious this is from the riots and stuff that went on in Des Moines and other places,” said Supervisor David Dotts. “If there isn’t an outbreak ... because there was no social distancing and very few masks.”
“We want to do the smart thing, but I think we can take the measures from things we have learned to move forward with what I would call a modified fair,” Lain added in closing. “I’m not saying it will be the same as we have seen in the past, but for the most part we would like to do as much of it as we can.”
In other business County Engineer Randy Zerr noted rock theft and issues with obstruction in right-of-ways continues to be an issue. He noted the sheriff’s office is working with them to resolve the problem and charges would be pressed if the individual(s) are caught.
The next Board of Supervisors meeting will be held on Tuesday, June 29 at 9 a.m.