Some changes for the carnival and the parade are in the works for the 2008 Putnam County Fair.
Relocation of the carnival from the south side of the fairgrounds near Harris Hall and the Community Building to the spot previously occupied by the Industrial Tent is the biggest change approved by the Fair Board on Monday.
The new carnival company, Jessop Amusements, asked for the location change to have more room to safely set up their bigger rides.
"The carnival is not going to be here as long this year," board member Rick Sutherland noted, "but since they are one of the top money-makers, we still need to take in the same amount of money in a shorter time."
In the past, the carnival has run from the Friday of the fair parade through the week until the following Saturday. This new carnival, like many current groups, has a Sunday through Saturday contract.
The board also agreed that if the Industrial Tent, which includes many vendors and organizations, is moved, the configuration of the tent may require two structures, in addition to about $1,500 in electrical relocation to provide power to the tent vendors. The carnivals that used that spot did not need electrical hookups, since they provided their own generators. The new carnival company will also have its own generators.
But some board members were worried that the location change would lead to increased dangers for pedestrians at the carnival, since it would be located along the main driveway for parking.
"I'm more concerned about kids shooting out there into the traffic," Horse and Pony Superintendent My Gilley told the board. There is now a natural barrier to the road because of the Industrial Tent, she said.
And Sheep Barn Superintendent Malinda Mann asked if there would be a fence or other barrier to discourage the 4-H youth from taking their animals into the carnival area, since it would be located next to many of the animal barns.
That is something the board said could be considered.
Board president Gene Grable agreed there are some unknowns about making the move, but if it does not work out, they can move the carnival and Industrial Tent back to their previous locations for the next year.
"We won't know until we try it," he said.
The board voted unanimously to make the change.
The shortened schedule for the carnival rides also brought up the question of a date change for the fair parade, which has been on Friday evening in recent years. One of the big draws to the fairgrounds has been in the aftermath of the parade. But if the carnival will not be set up, what will there be for fair-goers to do if they go to the fairgrounds Friday night?
Suggestions were considered to move the parade back to the first Sunday of the fair, or to move it up even a week earlier to Sunday, July 13.
However, the board agreed to leave it on Friday, July 18, but change the time to a 6:30 p.m. start, arriving downtown at 7 p.m.
That time change should alleviate some of the downtown traffic concerns of past years when commuters are trying to get home through the city.
But board members were also concerned that some events should be scheduled on that Friday evening to attract the public to the fairgrounds since the carnival will not yet be set up and most exhibits will not yet be open to the public.
Some suggestions were made to conduct a "pig wrestling" contest, or move established events such as the Pretty Baby Contest or the Battle of the Barns.
The Fair Board agreed to look into hiring some entertainment for that evening as well as a draw for the public.
In other business, the board:
* Learned that several bookings are set for the Community Building, including the Master Gardeners' Lawn and Garden Show March 13-15; the county Republican Dinner on March 15, Ag Week from March 17-21; and the Extension Homemakers Annual Garage and Rummage Sale on Friday, March 7 and Saturday, March 8. Winter storage items will be released March 28-31.
* Heard that Harris Hall renovations are moving along well as the bathrooms are insulated, the windows are replaced and a handicap accessible door has been installed.
* Learned the new Verizon cell tower has been erected on the fairgrounds property.
* Heard that updates for the Fair Book need to be submitted by March 15 so the books can be sent to the printer by April 1, with the goal of distribution by May 1.
* Agreed to consider a personalized brick fundraiser as a future project for the fairgrounds.
* Learned the deadline to enter the scramble lamb class is April 1. Those interested in the project should contact Malinda Mann.
The next regular meeting of the Fair Board is set for 7:30 p.m. Monday, March 24 in the Community Building at the Putnam County Fairgrounds. The board's executive committee will meet at 7 p.m. Monday, March 10.