What happened to our once great county fair? 

I have heard some of the community complaints about the size of the carnival and other issues with the fair. I’ve heard people ask, “What has happened to our once-great county fair?”

I (or my children) have been exhibiting at this fair for 50 years. It is in my heart and blood. I remember the Skerbeck days. It was a fine carnival –honestly, it still is.

But carnival operators, like all of us, run a business to make money. Revenues began to drop and they decided to give our contract to another carnival. It was nothing that the fair board of the time did and they had no choice.

That eventually led to a two-year contract with a different carnival. Yes, they had more games, but there were some things going on that made them a scary choice for our kids. Then the board started looking. D & R Shows does Alcona right after our fair. They don’t have as many rides, but they are in good working order, which was very important to the board.

Look at Skerbeck’s schedule. They need tear down, travel, and set-up time. Our rides start on Tuesday at 2 p.m.

Take a look at some of the things that we have tried to do: We’ve done our level best to make this a community fair. Instead of hiring free acts from out of state, we had Thunder Bay Theatre come in and do shows for the kids. When they decided to go in a different direction, we added the Princess Tea Party (this year with WATZ’s help, we are adding a Buckaroo Bonanza to this event). We sponsor the Family Fun Contests. These feature Applesauce Slurp, Pie Eating, and Hot Potato.

You may ask, ‘What we can do to make the fair what it used to be?’ The most likely answer is: nothing. There are too many factors that have changed in our world. One thing that you can do is buy and Ag Society membership for $5, send a letter to the county commissioners stating that you would like to run for the Fair Board, and, finally, come to the annual meeting and run for the board. If that doesn’t work, bring an idea to the board and be willing to run with it.

There have been many negative comments this week, but there have also been a tremendous number of offers of not only suggestions, but also of help in implementing them.