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By Staff | May 19, 2019

The FFA Barn building was demolished last week to make room for a new 4-H show indoor show arena that will be completed before the fair starts in July.

People driving by the west side of the Faribault County Fairgrounds may have noticed something missing in the last week. More specifically, observant passers-by may have noticed the disappearance of a building from the fairgrounds.

The building, which was most recently known as the FFA Barn, was torn down to make way for a new structure which is slated to be built and ready to use at this year’s county fair, which runs July 24-27.

A pole building measureing 60 feet by 80 feet is scheduled to be delivered on May 23, with construction to follow. The new building will provide an indoor show arena for livestock, both 4-H and open-class competitions, according to Daryl Murray, a member of the Faribault County Fair Board.

The show arena will have a sand base. Bleachers will sit on concrete outside of the arena, Murray explains. The building will have sliding doors on each end and smaller doors on the sides for ventilation.

“In the past we had to set up the show arena outside so we were always subject to the weather,” Murray says.

The idea for an updated show arena was not something new.

“It has been a dream of the fair board for a number of years to be able to construct a show area,” Murray comments. “But as is often the case, finances were a limiting factor.”

Then, as the saying goes, they received an offer they could not refuse.

“The county 4-H came to the fair board with the plan for the new building, including the 4-H financing it; they just needed the fair board to approve it,” Murray says.

It was approved by the fair board. Next, they had to pick a site for the new show arena.

They looked at two possible places to locate the new structure. Once they plotted out the size of the new building, they discovered the first site was not large enough. And as it turned out, their second choice would have required a lot of fill to be hauled in and the possible removal of some old oak trees, according to Murray.

The fair board began looking at the FFA building. The roof was damaged during the hail storm which happened during last year’s county fair, the foundation was poor and the sill was rotted, Murray explains.

“In other words, it was going to take a lot of work and money to refurbish it. You are then faced with the question, how much money do you put into an old building to get it updated?” Murray comments.

So the old building, which was about 100 years old, was demolished. Recently it has housed the FFA children’s barnyard. In the past it was also a place for 4-H sheep. Murray says many old-timers have told him open-class dairy competitions were held in the old building at one time.

Murray is looking forward to the new show arena and mentions how thankful and impressed he is with the 4-H for accomplishing all they did.

“They worked hard and financed it through grants and donations from companies,” Murray comments.

And in a little over two months time, visitors to the Faribault County Fair will get their first look at the new indoor judging arena.