The Vernon County Agricultural Society held its annual meeting Dec. 9, and recapped the Vernon County Fair, which was held Sept. 13-17.
“We had a very successful fair with record attendance,” said David Hornby, president of the board. “In the past there has been talk we should have summer fair. Well, how did you like our summer fair?”
Hornby was referring to fair week’s daytime highs in the upper 80s.
Bill Marohl, board treasurer, gave the financial report.
“Everything that went on at the fair went really good,” Marohl said.
Gate, non-gate and grandstand receipts totaled $108,634. Mr. Ed’s income to the fair was $32,527.56. Marohl said 269 all-inclusive adult tickets sold for $25 each. This new adult season ticket included admission to the fairgrounds and grandstand events.
There was a total of 11,339 Open Class and Junior Fair exhibits; in Open Class there were 356 entries, Junior Fair age 13 and older 177, and Junior Fair age 12 and younger 301. The premiums paid out for 2017 totaled $19,418.75. The fair’s income was $301,261 and expenses were $275,504.
At the end of his presentation, Marohl unveiled the 2018 premium book cover dawn by Junior Fair exhibitor Alex G. Boardman. Next year’s fair theme, based on Boardman’s design, is “Wide-eyed Fun for Everyone!” will be used for decorating the barns and exhibit halls. The fair will be Sept. 12-16.
John McClelland Jr., vice president, gave the buildings and grounds report.
“There were a lot of ongoing small projects,” McClelland said.
McClelland said caretaker Leo Nickelotti and his crew receive compliments about how nice the grounds look. “They do a lot of the projects themselves.”
He said updates in 2017 included installing an electric door opener in the Vernon Memorial Healthcare Expo Center, roofing updates at the Hanson Arena, replacing skylights in the Junior Dairy Building, painting of barns, widening of the manure pits, working on the south end of the grandstand to divert water, updating the ticket office at the west gate with better windows and lighting, repairing the racetrack and building a fence at the end of the pull track. In addition, the board purchased a used floor scrubber for the expo center.
McClelland said the Meat Animal Committee updated the beef barn with new ties and changed the door on the pig barn.
Future projects, McClelland said, may include constructing a new building that would include bathrooms, the fair office and Bob Fredrick Free Stage on the fairgrounds’ west side. “There’s not much room in the office for storage.”
McClelland showed a sketch of the new building that was drawn by Wieser Brothers General Contractor, Inc.
“It’s a quick and dirty drawing of what it might look like; it’s open to interpretation and change,” McClelland said.
McClelland said the square footage of the bathrooms in the new building is comparable to the current bathrooms and includes two showers. He also said the Education Building would have to be moved to make room for the new building.
McClelland said other projects in 2018 may also include ventilation in the horse and dairy barns and leveling of the horse arena.
Director Donna Leum gave a report on the entertainment offered on the Bob Fredrick Free Stage and throughout the fairgrounds.
“This year we had an awesome fair,” Leum said. “For the adults we had the Holy Rocka Rollaz that performed music from the 1950s; they were well received. We had the Dollipops for kids.”
Leum said the youth pedal tractor pull, which was held Saturday, drew a large number of participants.
“The pedal tractor pull is getting more participants,” she said. “If the numbers keep increasing, they may have to have two tracks next to each other.”
Director Stan Zube gave a report on the meat animal sale.
There were 63 market hogs in the sale, which sold for an average price of $2.24 per pound for a total of $38,858. The average weight was 274 pounds.
There were 20 market lambs, which sold for an average price of $2.88 per pound for a total of $7,961.93. The lambs had an average weight of 138 pounds.
Thirty market steers with an average weight of 1,313 pounds averaged $1.72 per pound for a total of $67,710.24.
Two market goats with an average weight of 93 pounds averaged $1.90 a pound for a total of $319.59.
There were three chickens in the sale with an average weight of 13 pounds and averaged $18.33 a pound for a total of $694. A 7-pound rabbit brought $24 per pound for a total of $168.
The Dairy Ribbon Sale had 12 ribbons on the auction block, with an average price of $556.25 for a total of $6,675.
The auction’s total was $122,387.36.
Secretary Ken Deaver presented a report on commercial/grounds use.
“There is lots of use for our grounds in the summer from cattle and horse shows to rummage sales,” Deaver said. “We are really glad everybody feels comfortable coming in there. Leo and his crew make sure people come in and get to where they need to go. We wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s great to be able to do that.”
Deaver echoed Hornby and Marohl’s comments that the fair went well.
“I want to thank everybody,” Deaver said. “The warm weather caused us a few concerns but we handled it.”
Committee reports were also given by Jean Walleser, Fairest of the Fair, and Jim Galstad, collegiate judging.
Marohl, Leum, McClelland and Zube were re-elected by unanimous ballot to three-year terms, and a moment of silence was observed for ag society members Charlotte Yahn, Delores Hornby and Alan Solverson, who died in 2017.
Friends of the Fair awards were presented to Jeff Fortney, Karen Ehle-Traastad, Colleen Pulvermacher and Roger Hooker.