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Fair board hopes company will have bigger, better rides

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

In the hopes of attracting more young adults and teenagers to the midway, the Putnam County Fair Board voted unanimously to contract with Jessop Amusements for the 2008 fair carnival rides.

The Cambridge City, Ind.-based company should provide bigger and better rides than the previous contractor, Playland Amusements, said board member Rick Sutherland.

Sutherland said he hopes to hammer out a contract in the next two weeks.

The new contract, though, will mean that the carnival is open for one less day than normal, since Jessop's schedule didn't allow it to operate for the full eight days of the fair this year.

However, if the company does indeed bring newer and bigger rides, the increased attendance should more than make up for the shorter availability, said Board President Gene Grable.

Members also briefly debated the booking for fairground activities.

Purdue Extension Educator Lauralee Baugh said she is afraid that the new person in charge of booking the events is giving too much space to paid vendors and not enough deference to 4-H and other educational activities.

"Booking should prioritize activities that are youth development-oriented," said board member Malinda Mann.

Past-President Ken Heeke also briefly talked about the possibility of the fair board acquiring the covered bridge information center that the Putnam County Convention and Visitor's Bureau has discussed removing from its site near U.S. 231 and Interstate 70.

Previously the bureau had expressed interest in getting rid of the small covered bridge it had erected in Cloverdale to welcome tourists to Putnam County.

Heeke said it is a possibility that the bridge could be moved to Greencastle and placed along U.S. 231 across from the fairgrounds. That deal, however, is far from finalized.

In other business, the board:

* Heard that the adult leader and volunteer training session is set for 6:30-8 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 29 at the extension office.

* Learned the beef and dairy steers weigh-in, ear tagging and retinal scanning is set for Saturday, Feb. 3 at the fairgrounds. Dairy feeder steers will be tagged and screened Saturday, April 19.

* Sheep ear tagging and retinal scanning is Saturday, April 26.

* Judging of Exhibit Hall projects for the 2008 county fair will be Tuesday, July 15 and Friday, July 18. Enrollment forms for the 4-H program will be available by the end of the year and are due April 1, 2008.



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