By: Rebecca Miller
Exhaustion was on the face of the President of the Williams County Agricultural Society, for pretty much the whole meeting of the Fair Board on August 19, 2021.
President Matt Kennedy and VP Dave Page led the meeting which was held in the Fair Board office building. The Fair is scheduled this year for September 11 – 18 and many last minute decisions were discussed, especially for the Demo Derby which is headed up for the first time by a female director who stated a number of times that she feels out of her comfort zone, but is doing her best to do what she said has always been “a man’s job.”
In this world where county fairs are getting harder and harder to pull off, this crew of hard working men and women who have a deep love for what the county fair stands for, shared their hearts and thoughts with each other that night, sometimes quietly and sometimes loudly but all with a passion for this aspect of their lives.
With fifteen members present at the round table set-up, they heard reports, approved the minutes of the July meeting (with one correction), discussed a large number of topics, and even argued with each other freely.
It was obvious that some of them are tired before the Fair even starts, but that all of them will be there as always, to step up and “git er done!”
Items announced, discussed or approved included:
– Some Very Fun FIRSTS will be happening on Sunday Night, September 12, 2021 which is YOUTH NIGHT: First Hay Bale Hauling (Truck) Contest, First Round Bale Race, First Straw Bale Pyramid Stacking Contest, and First Outhouse Race. Entry Forms and Rules for each competition can be picked up and filled out in the Fair Office.
Pre-Registration is Due by Sunday, Sept. 12 at 4 p.m. for Hay Baling, Round Bale Race and Straw Bale Pyramid, and would be appreciated but is not required for the Outhouse Race.
-Elections for Directors will be held in the Fair Office from 1-7 p.m. on Monday. Petitions before the Board this year are for Jason Fry, Tom Fry, Matt Kennedy, Pam Goll and Toby Fenicle.
-Two changes on this year’s ballot were approved for – Section 2 Candidate for Director current wording “Further, a candidate shall be required to submit two character reference statements, volunteer at minimum of ten hours during previous fair and attend three regular meetings of the Board to have his or her petition declared valid by the Board of the Society.” Is now dropped from the description.
Also, Section 5 Executive Committee currently worded “The Executive Committee shall be comprised of the President, Vice President, outgoing President, Treasurer, Secretary and two Directors in good standing of the Board.
The committee being comprised of seven shall consider quorum anytime four of it’s members are present.” Is now changed to “The Executive Committee shall be comprised of the President, Vice President, outgoing President, Treasurer, Secretary and any other Directors in good standing as deemed by the President. The committee being comprised of a minimum of three.”
-Any Organization who would like to work the gates should call Matt Kennedy
-The walk through with the fire chief will take place on Monday, August 23, 2021
-The Fire Department agreed to be there for the Demo Derby as always
-The office is open from 12-6 on Monday through Thursday
-A Budget for an office secretary was brought before the board by the President. He shared with them that he is too tired to keep doing all the hours he has been doing and he asked for a budget up to $30,000 ($15.00 an hour), for an outside contracted secretary, to work in the office.
During discussion it was stated that they hope “the right candidate will come along.” Concerns were raised that the secretary needs to have more checks and balances than they have had in the past and they need to know “they work for all of us, not the other way around.”
A motion was made to accept his recommendation for a budget of up to $30,000 for an office secretary. With a few long pauses before they said yes or no for their vote, the Board voted in favor with 10 in favor, 2 against, and one abstention.
-2022 fair dates were discussed and Mr. Kennedy made a proposal that they reduce the dates to six days instead of eight as they are presently doing.
Following a lengthy, heated discussion about whether it could all be done in six days versus how hard it is getting to “sustain an eight day fair,” and bewailing the “lack of support from the county and from some of the schools,” a secret ballot vote was taken and the count was eight in favor of shortening to six days, and four against.
Those who voted no said that they did so because they feel strongly that a proposed plan for holding it in six days should be developed to see if it was doable before a vote was taken.
There was concern about what will need to be cut and how they will determine what nights to hold the big events. There was a sense of frustration in the room and it was agreed that more communication is needed in every area.
-They also determined by vote, with 8 for and 4 against, that those dates will be for September 10-15, 2022, Saturday through Thursday
-In Old Business, uses for the $50,000 is still being considered
-The Director Cleaning Schedule for the bathrooms during the Fair was filled out and it was announced that the restrooms in the Horse Area will not be open this year, but there will be a Porta-Potty available there. The kitchen will still be open for use.
Director Sam Farmer announced to the Directors that he is stepping down as Jr. Fair Board Advisor as he is starting on a new job and will not be able to continue the amount of time he was giving to that. He plans to still be very involved in the Fair.
With no further business, the meeting adjourned. Some stayed to discuss how they can make it work in six days next year.
Rebecca can be reached at email@example.com