It’s fair to say: Planning under way for summer’s county fairs

Three longtime livestock barns at the Osage County Fairgrounds, at Osage City, will be demolished to make way for a larger building with a show arena. Plans are to have the building completed in time for this year’s fair June 25-28.

With remnants of a winter storm still melting away outside, it’s hard to believe that county fairs are just a few months away. But the Osage County Fair Association is already thinking about this summer’s fair at Osage City and has plans to replace three livestock barns with a new barn this spring.

Fair association president Ken Foth reports the fair board intends to have the new building in place for this year’s Osage County Fair to be held June 25-28.

“These old buildings are in need of substantial repair,” Foth said. “Over the last few years the fair board has had fund raisers and donations toward this replacement.”

He said several recent private donations will provide enough funds to build and equip the new building. Plans include moving poultry, goats and sheep into the existing pavilion, with a larger show arena inside the new building along with bleachers. Other livestock will also be housed in the new building.

At its Feb. 11 meeting the Osage City Council extended an agreement to the fair association for construction of the new building on the property, which is owned by the city of Osage City. The agreement provides that the fair association will demolish the old buildings and construct the new one at its expense; building plans must be prepared by a licensed architect or engineer and must comply with city codes; and the association will be responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the building and premises.

Foth said the fair is being held earlier this year than usual due to the available dates for contracting with a carnival. Carnival dates are set for June 26, 27 and 28, with all-you-can-ride-wrist bands available for each of the nights.

Foth said the carnival’s calendar looks favorable for having next year’s fair dates some time after the Fourth of July.

“The board feels the community does expect a carnival at a fair,” Foth said. “However, there are county fairs that operate without a carnival and found ways to interest fair goers.”

He said other fair activities for this year’s fair will be announced later, but in addition to the exhibits, an evening of entertainment is being planned at the new football grandstand. Friday, June 27, will be the annual talent show sponsored by Harmon Dental, followed by a fireworks show, both with free admission.

“The board is working on obtaining entertainment for Thursday and Saturday that will require a small admission fee,” Foth said. “It is the board’s intent to have something that starts a program that will draw a crowd and grow each succeeding year.”

For more information about the Osage County Fair, contact Foth at 785-528-3963, or fair association vice president Derald Stromgren at 785-528-4644.

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