Fair Board votes to hold 2019 fair in June, waits for commissioners' approval
By Kyle Vuille
Ranger-Review Staff Writer
After a heated session with a lot of local 4-H parents voicing their concerns, in a December Dawson County Commissioners meeting, the Fair Board members recently approved a motion to move the entire fair to the month of June for 2019, but the decision is still ultimately up to the county commissioners.
“We are awaiting commissioners approval and hopefully a decision is made soon so we have more time to plan,” fair manager Tacee DeSaye said. “Every day without a decision is a day of preparation lost.”
In late 2017, the board announced it would hold the fair during the traditional August dates in 2018, but because no carnival is available during that time, the board will also hold a carnival in June of 2018. The board has also said that holding the fair and carnival at different dates beyond 2018 is not feasible.
According to Fair Board member, Nathan Stortz, the board is strategically planning the schedule of events for an easier transition for 2019.
“We’re trying to shuffle main events to the right days so it works both ways, transitioning and moving forward,” Stortz said.
With the Fair Board facing pressure from the 4-H community and other members of the public about moving the entire fair date to June, the commissioners recently said they would not make a decision about the 2019 fair until after the two separate events (the carnival in June and the fair in August) take place in 2018. However, the Fair Board is now putting the pressure on the commissioners to make the decision to move the entire fair to June to give people, especially those involved in 4-H, an opportunity to prepare.
“Currently 4-H has 18-20 months to adapt, but if they (commissioners) wait until August to decide it’s in June, they (4-H) will have less than 10 months to adapt,” Stortz said.
He also added the Fair Board can’t book any entertainment for 2019 until the commissioners make their decision.
Stortz gave several reasons against having two separate events as well as the board making their decision of having the entire fair in June in 2019.
He said one consequence of having the two separate events was downsizing the night show this coming August 2018 because of the limited budget having the carnival and the other coinciding events in June.
Another reason the Fair Board members had to push for the fair date change to June, according to Stortz, is having money for the current fiscal year available, so they know exactly what they can budget for.
“It’s just one of the conveniences,” Stortz said. “Getting two rounds of taxes before we spend any money.”
Stortz explained that booking the night show and the carnival, months ahead before the county’s fiscal year ends in June leaves the Fair Board guessing what money they will have after the fair is over and the fiscal year is over.
“We’ll basically have our events at the beginning of the year,” Stortz said.
After speaking with commissioners in their Jan. 2 meeting, the two commissioners present, Doug Buxbaum and Dennis Zander, stood firm in their earlier decision.They said they will not make any decision to approve the fair being moved to June because participation numbers for the carnival and fair are unknown.
“We as commissioners, need to see how having the separate events will affect the budget,” Zander said.
The next commissioners meeting will be Jan. 16 and the next Fair Board meeting is tentatively scheduled for Jan. 22.
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