BLUE EARTH COUNTY (TEC News), December 20 – For the last 152 years, Garden City has been the home of the Blue Earth County Fair, but some residents and shareholders are looking to make a change. Fair Board President, Kelly Marks, feels that the purpose [of the fair] isn’t being fulfilled.
Members believe that Garden City offered a wonderful spot for the fair as it grew in previous years and brought in thousands for the original B.E.C. Farm Show in the 1860s. The missing aspect is our children’s future. As Garden City decreased in size, the town shrunk in attendance and productivity, which ultimately left very little room for growth of the fair.
Reports show a decrease in attendance the last few years as well as funding. Some feel a move would allow more opportunities for the 4H community, more space to accommodate the growing program and offer up to date facilities to house them. The Blue Earth County Fair's mission is to preserve the history of agriculture in Minnesota, teach those coming into the industry as well as preserve family farms in the south central portion of the state.
The Blue Earth County Agricultural Society [The Fair Board], was established in the winter of 1859 according to records from the Blue Earth County Historical Society. The first fair, October 7th of that year, was held at Miner Porter’s Farm, what we now know as Minneopa Park. This fair is marked in the books as the oldest running county fair in the state of Minnesota. Invitations by both Garden City and South Bend were extended in 1860 and 1861 to host the fair, so they were granted consecutively. The agricultural society cast a vote the following year in ’62 to make the farm show fair a Garden City annual event. Old newspaper records from the historical society show that thousands were in attendance through the early years and many shows consisted of livestock, horse events, car races and more.
An article from The Land, dated in June of 2000, claimed that funds were beginning to be a challenge for the fair. Most of the funds gathered came from parking, grandstand events, food sales and an annual county allocation. With numbers where they are today, the funds are not being met according to the books. This raises a huge issue for updating facilities for the 4H community as well as other fair festivities.
A vote will be held January 9th in the Ron Younge Gym at Bethany Lutheran College at 6 p.m. for changes as well as a possible location change. Those interested are invited to buy a share of $5 to participate in the voting process. Shares can be purchased at Buster’s on Madison January 6th through the 8th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The fair board is urging the public to step back and take a look at how this really affects the future of our children and the 4H community. There needs to be an opportunity to grow.
For more information, contact Fair Board President, Kelly Marks at firstname.lastname@example.org