By not taking action, the Great Northern Fair Board this week seems to resolve an issue hanging since the summer of 2012: Can the local 4-H clubs provide concessions at the fairgrounds without paying the fair a commission?
The board reached consensus to allow a club to provide concessions at an event Sept. 28 without paying commissions, and approved Hill County 4-H running some fundraisers during Festival Days.
Hill County 4-H Council President Stacey Waid requested the board approve 4-H opening the Chuckwagon to sell food during Festival Days, Sept. 20-22, and to hold a rummage sale that weekend in a building at the fairgrounds.
Waid said those proceeds would go toward the plan to rebuild the decades-old structure.
She said Thursday the fall rummage sale will run in the 4-H clothing building at the fairgrounds Saturday, Sept. 21 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, Sept. 22, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Chuckwagon will be open Sunday, Sept. 22, from 1-4 p.m. serving a spaghetti dinner with salad, bread, drinks and homemade cookies. People can make a freewill donation per plate.
Off the fairgrounds, 4-H members also will be holding a “walking bake sale” during the Festival Days Parade Saturday morning, Waid said.
Proceeds will go to rebuild the Chuckwagon, used during the fair to sell food as a 4-H fundraiser and for other 4-H events through the year.
The board — at least by the 1970s — had exempted the group from having to pay a portion of its fair sales to the fair board as revenue for its budget, as most groups are required. That is because 4-H owns its building, rather than renting or leasing, and pays its own utilities.
That exemption raised contention last year when fairgrounds manager Tim Solomon asked the board to make a decision about 4-H clubs getting commission-free exclusive concessions at events outside of the fair itself.
He reported that groups renting the fairgrounds had told businesses or groups that wanted to provide concessions at their events that a 4-H club was providing food and would be the sole provider.
Solomon said he wanted a decision on whether the exemption to the commission to the fair board budget would apply in those cases. The board tabled the question after several lengthy, and sometimes contentious, discussions of the issue last year.
At this week’s meeting, Waid said local auctioneer Bob Sivertsen had requested a 4-H club provide concessions at an auction he is conducting at the fairgrounds Sept 28.
She asked whether the club would have to pay the commission.
The board reached a consensus that, as Sivertsen is renting the building for his event, setting concessions is his affair and is included in the rental he pays.
Waid said the club would be grilling burgers at a grill outside the building, not using its Chuckwagon facility. She added that a club provided concessions at a Sivertsen auction earlier this year at the Havre Ice Dome.