Updates ensure fun at the fair


The Tribune

The Jackson County Fair received a grand champion designation in its class six times between 1990 and 1999 from the Indiana Association of Fairs.

Those honors are a testament to the work of a small, but dedicated group — the fair board, which now has 30 members — and many others over the years.

Some faces on the fair board have changed over time, although others, such as Marion Reinbold, Melvin Bishop, Jeanette Hackman, Nancy Erp, Fleeta Arthur, Myron Curry, Jim Browning and Francis Elliott, to name just a few, date back to the 1990s when the grand champion awards were won.

Their continued dedication to ensuring Jackson County has one of the state’s best fairs, attracting visitors from throughout the state and region each year, is easy to see.

Just look at some of the improvements including a new show arena completed just in time for the 79th edition of the fair.

At 108 feet long and 78 feet wide, Show Arena 2 will have more than 100 pens for goats and overflow of other livestock, and the other end will be used as the fairgrounds’ second show arena. After last year’s fair, the rabbit and poultry barn was lifted and moved by local contractor Steve Starr.

And then, the congregation of Immanuel Lutheran Church tore down its 1,600-square-foot food stand and replaced it with a 2,773-square-feet food stand. The new stand will allow the public to pay with a credit or debit card or even Apple-Pay and provide a 20-by-26-foot covered seating area and air conditioning for the volunteers.

The Jackson County Fair is a free fair, meaning you don’t pay for admission. That’s not true of every county fair in the state.

The fair board wants to keep it that way. The fair gets its revenue from a variety of sources but doesn’t always have money to do everything that’s wanted or needed as quickly desired.

So they went out and built the new show arena knowing the community would respond with financial assistance and volunteers willing to give of their time and skills to ensure the restrooms were finished before the fair begins its seven-day run on July 22.

Talk about faith.

But while we’re bragging about the work of the fair board, we shouldn’t forget a second, but much larger, group of people who help make the fair a success each year.

That would be the hundreds of youth involved in 4-H along with their adult leaders. They spend countless hours preparing projects for the fair, getting up early to feed their livestock or water and weed their gardens or spending hours behind a sewing machine.

And let’s not forget the parents, who provide assistance and sometimes even gentle prodding when it comes to making sure those projects are done on time.

Large groups of volunteers from area churches, conservation clubs, livestock associations and other groups also donate their time to make sure fairgoers have some good food choices such as pork burgers, walking tacos and fish sandwiches.

Yes, it’s pretty easy to see why Jackson County’s fair could be labeled a grand champion fair even though the Indiana Association of Fairs stopped the practice of recognizing top-notched fairs many years ago.

Take time this year to get out to the fairgrounds and appreciate all the fair has to offer.

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Volunteers have helped make the Jackson County Fair shine for 79 years

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The Jackson County Fair begins its annual run at 1 p.m. Sunday when all exhibit buildings open for public viewing and continues through July 28.


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