Putting on the fair isn’t easy
Entering the gates to the Faribault County Fairgrounds, the typical person has no idea of what work has gone into preparing for the fair.
But if one were viewing the grounds from the air on entry day they might get a better picture of what must take place in order for a fair to happen. On this day, the scene from a distance probably looks like a colony of ants or a horde of busy bees at work, but upon closer examination, it is the fair board and the hundreds of volunteers making the fairgrounds come to life.
Thanks to the efforts of the Faribault County Agriculture Society’s Board of Directors and the volunteers, everything gels. It takes them an entire year, however, to put all of the fair components together. In fact, they are already booking programs for 2010, the 150th anniversary of the fair.
In addition to the 12 Faribault County Fair Board members, there are numerous volunteers who coordinate everything from the antique tractor show to security and gate tickets to an entertainment committee. There are also supervisors for the various buildings which house the rabbits and poultry, swine and Hall of Arts and Horticulture. Under the umbrella of the building superintendents are additional volunteers.
Arlen Legred, Swine Building Superintendent, says he helps oversee the weighing and scanning of the hogs on entry day for both the 4-H and open class entries. Working with him are Extension Office personnel who do the scanning using an ultrasound machine. The scan checks the back fat and loin eye on the swine. Also assisting Legred are numerous 4-H members and their parents. In the swine barn, Legred says he has at least eight or 10 helpers available during most of the fair to run and help with the approximate 100 swine entries.
“Each of the fair board members and those of us who are building superintendents have our own show to run,” summarizes Legred of his responsibilities.
“I enjoy the kids. The fair is for the kids. That’s the main thing,” says Legred, who has worked at the fair for the past 45 years. Prior to that, in the 1940s, he was a 4-H member participating in the Faribault County Fair.
To prepare for the 100 swine, 32 sheep and a number of goats, 90 bags of 3.23 cubic feet compressed sawdust were provided by the fair board and delivered to the swine barn to house. In all, the board has available 300 bags of compressed wood chips for the animals living on the grounds during fair week.
Another building superintendent is Fair Manager Sara Gack. She says there are 12 helpers in both the Hall of Arts and the Horticulture Building.
Gack estimates open class exhibitors this year number about 200 in all areas on the grounds.
For more of this story, see this week’s Register