County fairs help gather rural and urban residents together in a festive setting, bridging cultures and forging new relationships.
For Alpena County Fair board members, that always hasn't been easy. For several years now fair board members found themselves also dealing with economic uncertainties, internal strife, scheduling conflicts and frustration from those who govern them. More than once there was legitimate concern regarding the fair's future.
All that seems to be old news, however, thanks to an energetic group who meticulously have addressed areas of concern, shored up finances and moved the fair to a more advantageous date.
"We knew we were really going to have to bring it this year and I think we did that," said fair board Treasurer Katie Bleau in a presentation to commissioners this week.
She said by finding a new date of Aug. 3-10 for next summer, it really helped shore up the relationship with 4-H and ultimately, should lead to better attendance.
Commissioners, who have struggled with fair issues in the past, seemed pleased with the direction of the new board and the fact that fences were being mended.
"They have paid us back in full and still have money in their fund balance to start next year with, which is awesome," Chairman Cam Habermehl said. "They have done a great job and I think the new date of the fair will only improve it as well."
The volunteers who make up the fair board have done a great job of dealing with sensitive matters and working out compromises and solutions to everyone's satisfaction.
We applaud their efforts, and believe that under their guidance the future of the fair once again is back on track and looking better than ever.