by Elizabeth Wehman, editor
ACCEPTING THE VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR award at the Shiawassee County Agricultural Society’s Annual meeting was Jamie Jones and Ruth Crawford. The award was presented by Gary Bulemore in honor of all the hard work the two women have done at the fair as volunteers. The duo has successfully engraved and placed bricks around the new Whitney Gwisdalla Bathroom/Shower facility. (Independent Photo/Elizabeth Wehman)
Many projects went into the initial preparation for this year’s events at the Shiawassee County fairgrounds, reported Fair Manager Ric Crawford at the 2016 Shiawassee County Society’s Annual meeting on Sunday, Dec. 4. Crawford said, “Overall this was a good year and positive things happened.”
One of the biggest was the first phase of concrete projects throughout the fairgrounds including major walkways. Continuing will be additional concrete pads for the swine and large arena areas which were initiated due to the swine disease plaguing exhibitors at this past year’s fair. Also, new roofs were installed on the office, gazebo, and public safety building. The beef barn will have a new roof installed in 2017.
Electrical upgrades were made to camping sites as well as the beef barn. Crawford went on to thank voters for the MSU Extension success in August, as well as reporting on the best car/truck show ever to be held at the fairgrounds as a launch of this year’s fair week.
Gate income was down this year, but Crawford assumed that was due to the excessive high temperatures during fair week. The heat also seemed to cause a decrease in carnival ride activity. Auctions held strong during the week of the fair with the small animal auctions being very strong.
In 2014, 5,056 pounds of meat was donated to local food bank organizations through the efforts of many who purchased meat at fair auctions. In 2015, the number rose to 9,663 pounds and this year’s buyers donated 10,683 pounds to those needing food in our county.
Dawn Reha gave a report from the Friends of the Fair who are now celebrating their two year anniversary as a nonprofit support of the Agricultural Society. They revealed a new logo which includes the fair’s silo. Reha told guests about a $3,100 scholarship which was given to students in the Diesel programs at Baker College. Pens will soon be purchased for the goats and new mats for the dog barns as a few of their current projects. Some of the first grants given by the organization were a $2,500 sound system for the horse barn and $875 for building signs, with the help of Agnew Signs, to make things look sharp during fair week.
Many other awards were given at the meeting including superintendent service awards for their years of work. In addition to the photo awards taken and shown here, a Service Award was given to Thompson Scale Service. They were unable to be present to receive the award.
Reha added in her remarks, “Our youth have dreams, help us support those dreams,” which seemed to culminate the thoughts of all in attendance at the meeting.