GREENVILLE — The Darke County Fair Board discussed rule changes, safety issues, and the building of a new dog barn at their monthly meeting Wednesday night.
The board voted to move forward with an online app featuring maps and the ability to buy fair and concert tickets, accepting a proposal for a two-year contract from an unnamed company, for a total price of $2,200. Fair manager Brian Rismiller said the app, and especially the map functions, would save the board a lot of money in the long run.
“Right now we’re paying to print maps, which then get thrown away,” Rismiller said. “Then we’re paying to have someone pick them up, then we’re paying to have Rumpke come and hall them away.”
Rhonda Williams, 4-H advisor and director of Ohio State University’s Darke County Extension Office, addressed the board during the Public Hearing portion of the meeting, taking issue with a motion passed during last month’s special session ruling that junior fair members must complete project books in order to exhibit. Williams argued that such a change should have been discussed by the Junior Fair Board first, then brought before the primary Fair Board to be approved.
“I think this motion was a direct target at the 4-H program, and I don’t believe you have the authority to tell me how to run my program,” Williams said. “If there’s an issue, I’ll deal with it. I also hope the board did your due diligence, and can show me the books all the other organizations that exhibit have to fill out.”
Williams also argued that, since the project books issue wasn’t specifically mentioned in the notice sent out about the meeting, the resulting decision by the board would be invalid. The board ultimately agreed, and the ruling regarding project books was rescinded.
Junior Fair Board member Jacob Wuebker also addressed the board, asking that dairy cows and dairy steers be allowed to exhibit in front of different judges at the fair. He referenced a ruling at last month’s meeting in which the board determined that dairy and boer goats could be exhibited separately.
“This is the box of worms we talked about opening up when we did it,” board member Russ Bennett said, referencing the board’s previous ruling.
Board members advised Wuebker to present the motion to the Junior Fair Board first and bring it back if ratified, as that was the process goat department members had gone through.
Board Treasurer Doug Martin brought up a potential safety issue, making a motion that livestock being exhibited during the first weekend of the fair be brought in by noon of the previous Friday. Martin and others claimed that traffic caused .by exhibitors bringing their livestock in later in the day posed a safety hazard to first-day fairgoers. The motion passed.
Finally, dog department secretary Becky Baker and 4-H advisor Amy Rice addressed the board, stating that they were bringing back jumping and agility demonstrations, as well as open obedience demonstrations the last Saturday of the fair.
“There will now be only one day when something is not going on in the dog barn,” Baker said.
The board voted unanimously to accept the new schedule of events for the dog barn, as well as to allot $2500 for the hiring of judges for the obedience competition.
Baker also stated that the dog department had raised $24,988 to be put toward the building of the new dog barn. Under a previous agreement with the Fair Board, construction on the new barn would go forward once the dog department had raised half of the approximately $90,000 needed to complete the project. Baker asked, however, if construction could instead be broken into two phases, with the first portion of the project going forward more quickly, in order to be ready by the time of the 2018 fair.
Board members countered that they weren’t certain if a two-phase project could be completed for the same price as their original estimate, and also stated they had not yet identified a location for the new barn, especially given the indeterminate number of new attractions slated to be brought in by their new ride company.
“You’re just thinking about the building,” board member Russ Bennett said. “We’ve got to think about plumbing, and sewage, building new restrooms, and so on.”
The board ultimately moved on without passing any motions related to the new dog barn.
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