Board sets new alcohol policy

Tuesday, January 23, 2007
B.F. McClerren impersonates Abraham Lincoln

In an attempt to increase revenue to support the fairgrounds, the Putnam County Fair Board on Monday voted to allow alcoholic beverages to be served at certain events, but not at any event involving youth.

The policy approved by the board sets the parameters of what will be allowed and not allowed when alcoholic beverages are served at events such as wedding receptions or organizational fundraisers.

A contract to state the policy will be drawn up by an attorney to be presented to anyone renting the fairgrounds property for an event that will include alcohol.

The approved policy states that serving or consuming alcohol on the fairgrounds property is prohibited, except for wedding receptions, banquets and non youth-oriented programs only if it is served by a Putnam County establishment that is licensed to serve alcohol and agrees to adhere to all federal, state and local laws pertaining to serving alcohol. Proof of insurance amounting to not less than $1 million must be provided by both the event sponsor and the caterer.

The last line of the policy states: "Under no circumstances will alcohol be served at or during any 4-H youth activity, including the annual Putnam County 4-H Fair."

The reason for the policy change is the loss of revenue from events that would rent the fairgrounds if alcohol could be served. Groups such as Quail Unlimited have moved their annual banquet for that reason, and some wedding receptions have also been booked elsewhere when learning of the no-alcohol policy.

Board members noted that neighboring Hendricks County is making a similar change for the same reasons at its fairgrounds.

The policy first came up for discussion in December, and board members have received public comment since then.

The vote taken Monday was 19 in favor, and one opposed.

Meanwhile, the board set the theme for the 2007 county fair as "4-H: The Key to the Future." The dates for this year's fair are July 20-28. The dates for the 2008 county fair were wet for July 18-26.

In the treasurer's report, the board heard that the fair board had $17,000 more expenses than income last year. But at the end of the year, the board still had $20,000 in reserve in its checking and savings accounts. But the board noted that they had $10,000 in electrical improvement costs, as well as $5,000 in closing costs on a property purchase. While those are one-time costs, there will likely be additional improvements in the future.

In the 4-H report, the board learned:

* This year's leader update session will be 6-8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb 13 at the extension office. All barn superintendents and club leaders are urged to attend. Additional adult volunteers are needed to serve as local and project club leaders and assistant leaders.

* The 4-H program enrollment forms and livestock enrollment forms are available at the extension office. There is a separate animal enrollment form for daily bull animals this year.

* Beef and dairy steers weigh-in, ear tagging and retinal screening will be Saturday, Feb. 3. That does not include dairy feeder steers, which will have a date later in the spring for weigh-in, ear tagging and retinal scanning.

* Sheep ear tagging and retinal scanning will be Saturday, May 5.

* The 2007 project handbook is almost ready to be distributed. Some help is needed in putting the books together.

* Learned the 2008 carnival contract is being worked out with the All-American company.

* Was told a new master gardeners class will be starting Feb. 6, and a master gardeners meeting is set for Feb. 24 at the fairgrounds.

* Learned the sheep club would like more first- and second-year 4-H'ers to do the scramble lamb program. The group would also like to develop a program for disabled children to work with sheep.

* Heard a concern from Ty Sutherlin about how events are booked at the fairgrounds. The board agreed to work out the concern with him.

The Putnam County Fair Board regularly meets at 7:30 p.m. on the fourth Monday of each month at the fairgrounds Community Building.

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