April 01, 2023

Fair board continues building projects

The Union County Fair Board cast a shadow March 1 during its fundraiser dinner held in Afton.

And that shadow is a good thing.

Fair Board representative Ben Adamson said after the meeting plans are to install a canopy over the new bleachers installed in the rodeo arena.

“With some funds we had, we are going to cover the seats like it had been done in the past,” he said.

In late 2021, the fair board was granted $350,000 from the Union County Board of Supervisors from its American Rescue Funds. Those dollars were provided by the federal government for municipallities to use to make up for lost revenue during the COVID pandemic. Union County was granted $2.38 million and has a large majority of it already spent or budgeted. The funds were used for the new seats.

A 50 by 170 feet concrete pad is on the south side where the bleachers had been setting.

The arena had two sections of seating; one on the north side and another on the south side. The south side held 960 people. The north side held about 300 for a total of 1,260. The original idea for the south side was to nearly double the seating. As proposed, the south side would hold about 1,800.

Adamson said installation of the canopy is expected this spring. The goal is to have the seats ready to use by county fair in July.

Late last year, supervisors also provided $80,000 to the fair board to help with a new, small-animal building. Adamson said there is no guarantee that building will be ready for this year’s fair as the money was granted at a time construction materials costs were higher than the board was comfortable. The building was originally estimated at $150,000. At the time of the funding approval, the estimate was closer to $175,000.

The fair board also announced its long-term goals. Adamson said a new equestrian facility is on the list. The vision includes covering the existing area to have the entire facility all under one roof. With climate control, horse events could be held yearround. Another project is to have VIP-like seating in the rodeo arena.

Another plan is to expand the campground with full-service hookups, but Adamson said it’s still too early to know details.

During his presentation to the supervisors, Adamson said during the seven years he has been on the board there has been a cumulative $2.3 million worth of updates to the fair from new buildings, upgrades to others and electrical work throughout fair complex and campgrounds.

John Van Nostrand


An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.