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Fun for all ages is just about guaranteed

 

BOWLING GREEN—When everyone begins to arrive at the Pike County Fairgrounds, just off of 54 east of the city next month, they will find some nice improvements to the fairgrounds.

According to Tim Gamm, president of the board for the county fair, a new covered seating area was built last year.

“All the profit that’s generated by the fair goes right back into the facilities,” said Gamm. Some of the buildings on the fairgrounds are 26 to 27 years old. Before the new pavilion was completed, which is 40-feet by 100 feet, he noted that fair board would rent tents so people could eat under them.

“Those were expensive,” he said. “We were able to build this, and the money we had been spending on tents would be recouped in about 3½ years.”

They moved the small stage, which had been next to where the covered pavilion is now over to where the old beer garden was and moved the beer garden over to the large commercial building. That building had been used mainly for storage.

Having the beer garden in this building allows the fair’s staff to have better control over people coming and going.

There is also a new seating area on the north side of the main track.

“We also leveled out a lot of the area on the hillside, making it easier for folks to walk,” he said.

Planning for this year’s fair started almost immediately after last year’s fair ended, Gamm noted.

“A lot of those groups, like the Lucas Oil Pro Pulling League, are already planning their schedule a year in advance,” Gamm said. “And we want to be on their radar when they’re doing that planning. We start signing contracts right after the fair is over.”

It’s a year-round process getting everything lined out for the following year, he added.

By June, the board starts to work Wednesday nights, too.

“There’s always people working down there,” he said.

It’s a group effort to get everything done in time for the fair to begin. There are 26 members on the board with another 26 associate board members. There are also a group of honorary members on the board.

“This allows for new members to join the board,” Gamm said. Nominations and elections for new board members happen each October.

If there is anyone interested in joining the board, Gamm said, he or she should contact him, to be invited to attend the meeting.

But before that happens, he suggested people interested in helping out, come to the fair and work.

“There are always plenty of jobs for people, he said.”

Volunteer opportunities are plentiful, as well. Reach him at 573-470-5560.

“Get to see what’s it about,” he said.

The one change they made from last year is bringing back the rodeo on Tuesday night and putting it on the main track.

They also added some small stage entertainers. Two years ago, they moved away from doing one large show on Saturday evening.

“We’ve got some pretty good entertainers that are going to be down there in the evenings,” he said. “We’re trying to appeal to everyone’s wishes.”

Tuesday, at the start of the fair, there’s free admission for children.

“That gets a lot of folks out that normally wouldn’t come,” he said.

Kenny’s Funland Carnival is returning this year to set up rides. Some fairs charge extra for the rides, he said, but they are included in the ticket fare.

During last year’s fair, the weather was pretty good, he said. That helped to increase attendance. Gamm estimated that between 1,500 and 2,000 people a day attended the fair. He said he’s hoping for at least that this year.

“The kitchen and food shack draw a lot of people,” he said. “The people running them do a heck of a job.

“Friday night is a big night for us, with the demolition derby.” 

There’s always stuff going on, Gamm said. “If somebody is looking for anything to do, we probably have it.”

A livestock show will take place as well as 4-H exhibits. The Saturday before the fair there will be a cattle show.

Gamm has been president of the board for two years.

“I’m very happy when Sunday rolls around,” he said. “A lot of other people are, too.”

Funding for the fair comes from more than just ticket and pass sales or entry fees.

Sherry McCarty does an incredible job of helping with finding sponsors and donors for the fair.

This money helps fund the fair, he explained.

“We haven’t changed ticket prices for several years, now.”

The way to go, to truly enjoy everything, is getting the season pass, he added.

A schedule of what’s coming this year is available online at pikecountyfair.org/.

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