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Letter to the editor: Fair needs public support for new grandstands

5:21 PM, Jun. 24, 2013  |  Comments
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To the editor:

The Oconto County Fair is a tradition that has been enjoyed by thousands of Oconto County residents and visitors annually for nearly 75 years. From its beginning, the primary focus has been on the youth but the fair has also been the largest social, education and entertainment event in the county. We have and continue to strive to be a truly family-focused event.

The success of the Oconto County Fair has always been in large part due to community support. Many individuals, organizations, businesses and town and county governments rose to the occasion to get the fair organized and started in the early 1940s and replace the original facilities with state of the art exhibition facilities in the 80s and 90s along with other grounds improvements. The community has also supported annual operations through purchase of advertising, in-kind contributions and sponsorship of youth awards.

The fair is again in need of support from our public. The fairgrounds grandstand bleachers have served us well for many years. State building codes have changed over the years making the older sections of bleachers not code compliant. They have been "grandfathered" under state regulations, which has allowed their continued use.

For several years we have invested time and money to maintain them. But they have continued to deteriorate to the point that they may pose a safety hazard. For that reason the fair has decided it is necessary to replace all of the iron and wood bleachers with new code-compliant aluminum seating that will serve us for many years into the future.

The cost of the new bleachers is around $52,000. The project is initially being financed with a bank loan and fair funds. The funds of the fair are from a small reserve fund we try to maintain to cover operational shortfalls and some that would normally be used for operations.

We are seeking financial support from area individuals, organizations, and businesses to reduce the debt as quickly as possible. We have received commitments from a number local businesses and individuals for contributions. We are reaching out to others to also assist us in this project.

If you are interested in making a contribution, please contact Fair Treasurer, Doug McMahon at 920 842-9845, email: mcmdg@ez-net.com, or PO Box 118, Suring, WI 54174. While plans and arrangements are not yet complete, contributors of all levels will have their contributions acknowledged at the fair grounds.

Ken Harter

Secretary

Oconto County Fair

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