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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

BV Fair turnout nearly doubles

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wendy Broich and Lexi Nepple during Ag Olympics. / Lorri Glawe
The 2012 Buena Vista Fair is over and the fairgrounds have nearly been restored to its off-season slumber. Fair organizers were pleased with the public support.

Fair Board President Randy Robbins estimates the numbers of persons coming onto the fair grounds over the five-day run nearly doubled from last year, to 8,000.

"There were lots of positive comments," Robbins said.

Anna Cox and her fancy moustache at the watermelon feed.
The stock car races on Wednesday was a crowd pleaser once again.

New to the Buena Vista County Fair was the National Tractor Pullers Association Grand National Tractor Pull which brought participants from across the country. Some 4,000 fans packed the grandstand and the area surrounding it to watch the high-powered and impressive machines.

"It was risky," said Robbins of bringing the show to the fairgrounds, "but Jeff and Cody Demers did a superb job of promoting it. Thanks to all the businesses that sponsored the event."

Robbins added that the drivers enjoyed competing at the BV County Fairgrounds and have shown interest in making a return trip next year.

(So those who had the chance to see this event, mark your calendars and those that were unable to make it to this year's show, you have another shot at it.)

Friday night there was a great deal of fun at the grandstand. Starting the night off was a meal sponsored by the Buena Vista County Farm Bureau. Helping in the serving were BV County Republicans as well as BV County supervisors, Rep. Gary Worthan, a representative from the Romney for president committee, Iowa Senate contender Mark Segebart and Congressman Steve King.

Robbins estimates some 600 filed into the grandstands to support the 4-H'ers and their events which included the pie making contest, crowning of the 2012 Fair Queen and Little Miss and auctioning of the bucket of junk creations made by the 4-H'ers.

The antique tractor pull was well-attended on Saturday morning as well.

Robbins also complimented the Alta-Aurelia Dance Team for operating the food stand. Operating the stand is a fundraiser for the dance team; he stressed that the opportunities are endless for other groups who want to do fundraising during the fair. He would definitely like to see more school groups become involved.

Ag Partners is always very supportive of the fair and each employee takes his or her turn at the gate. He thanks the support from other area businesses and thanks Storm Lake for allowing the use of bleachers from their ball fields for the NTPA event.

It was hot, he doesn't have to remind everyone, but everyone tolerated it. The fire early Saturday morning that destroyed the Buena Vista County Raceway concession stand was unfortunate but the fair board president commends the quick response of the Alta Fire Fighters and the containment of the fire.

Raceway fans should know that a temporary new stand is being constructed under the grandstand and will be ready to use by this week's race.

Robbins also thanks the BV County Sheriff's Department for their assistance during the fire and also for crowd control during the NTPA event.

On the 4-H side, Debbie Erpelding, BV County Extension Youth Coordinator, said she is quite pleased with the numbers of participants as well as the crowds that gathered to support the 4-H'ers in their hard work and dedication.

Livestock entry numbers in the rabbit, sheep and swine areas were up from last year; poultry numbers are also up but exhibitor numbers are down in this area meaning exhibitors are showing greater numbers of animals; horse entries remained about the same and cattle numbers were down due to cattle prices seen this year.

Helping up the numbers in a couple areas is the "special projects" which were added to the fair a few years ago which gives 4-H'ers who do not raise livestock or have room for livestock on their farms and even for those 4-H'ers who live in town, the opportunity to have a part in showing livestock. Participants also learn the responsibilities of caring for a farm animal, all the way down to the necessary procedures for taking out and paying back a bank loan for the animals.

The numbers of static projects were slightly down, Erpelding said, but the quality is up. There was no problem selecting the maximum number of projects (based on enrollment figures) that can be sent to the state fair.

It is fascinating, she said, to see the 4-H'ers, coming together from different clubs, different communities, each hoping for the blue ribbons, or better yet, the title of champion and once they walk out of the show ring they can be seen congratulating their opponents with great sincerity.

"They are close-knit. This is the week of the summer they enjoy most - to get to see their friends from towns throughout the county," Erpelding said.

The 4-H organization is strong in Buena Vista County - thanks in a big part to the parents. Many of the parents also had "good experiences" as 4-H'ers in their youth and are helping to pass on the tradition through their kids. She also credits the many great leaders for the success.

Fair Board President Robbins welcomes ideas from anyone on how to make the fair better and invites anyone to become a member of the fair board. Currently there are only nine members of the fair board. "You couldn't ask for better people," he said, but emphasizes there is room for many more members.

"We need to support the kids - they are the future of our county."

Planning for next year's fair will begin soon. Call Robbins at (712) 299-4299 with questions or to express interest in being a part of the board.

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