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Talking it Over: Who owns the fair?

Grandma, who owns the fair? It was an innocent question asked by my granddaughter while we were walking around at the Stevens County Fair last weekend, but one of those questions that actually had me stumped. After thinking for awhile, I said, “We all own the fair.”

The question and answer stayed with me through the fair. I kept asking the same thing, who does really own the fair? I know that there is a Fair Board who runs the fair but they don’t “own” it. There are several groups that probably own various buildings at the fair, but they do not own the entire fair. The most obvious answer would be the county and therefore it would be governed by the county commissioners.

Since we all own the fair as residents of the county, that means we all have responsibilities when it comes to it. As members of some of the groups such as 4-H, Homemakers, and others with regular stands or buildings, we are responsible to clean, work and enter items to fill those buildings. With the open class competitions, anyone in the county is able to enter items so that responsibility stretches even further.

The Fair Board does bear the brunt of the responsibility of the fair. They are planning all year for entertainment, conducting fundraisers and getting buildings and grounds ready before the event. During the fair, they are extremely busy keeping things going and doing many behind the scene things to make sure all runs smoothly. It is a big job with very little thanks.

So now I ask, who makes up the Fair Board? I am really not sure how the members are selected but I hope that it is done so in a way that has many areas of the county and groups within the county well represented. I would think there should be people from each of the communities and most of the townships in the county, not just a majority from one area. There should be representatives from 4-H, Homemakers, and many of the other well-established venues at the fair. Some of these may even overlap with one person representing several entities. These individuals should not only be planning and preparing in a way that they see fit, but also listening to other people involved with the fair and trying to make things acceptable to all.

With the Fair Board established and making all the plans for the fair, some of the responsibility shifts to the public. They need support at the fundraisers that are planned such as the fair button supper and Grandstand shows. When asked for donations, they need ready cooperation. They may even need some manual work done at times with a willing and happy heart. They need to have their well-planned events released to the public in a way that all will know what is going on and when.

So who does own the fair? We all do, just like I told my granddaughter. So as owners we should take our responsibilities when it comes to the fair very seriously. We can share our ideas or needs that we notice with Fair Board members. We can all work to make things better in the future. For now, with the 2014 event over, we can look ahead and plan for 2015 and make sure it remains the wonderful, fun-filled days that we have enjoyed for many, many years.