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Fair Board meets and discusses fair cancelation amid pandemic

Dolphay elected new chair


Last updated 4/22/2020 at 11:48am

The Great Northern Fair Board decided during its monthly meeting Tuesday to hold off deciding whether to cancel this year’s Great Northern Fair due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s still a very real possibility,” Board Chair Tyler Smith said. “I don’t think we’ll make that determination until the May meeting.”

He said, in the meantime, the board would reaching out to fairs being held at a similar time and see what their organizers are thinking.

“I really hope that we can still have a fair, and still do those kinds of things, but if the pendulum swings and cases begin to rise, the Health Department is ultimately going to be the one to dictate whether or not this fair goes on, and I would think the groups that are listening to me right now, all should have a plan in place in case the fair doesn’t happen,” Smith said.

Smith also announced that Shawn Bickford was leaving his position as a member of the board and the Hill County Commissioner’s office will be accepting applications for candidates to fill his position for the next 30 days.

He also said plans are being made to re-open the Bigger Better Barn with some caveats.

“I spoke with the Health Department about opening the barn up. As long as social distances was enacted and there are not more than 10 people in the barn at a time the barn can be opened once a day,” he said.

Members of the board noted that steps would have to be taken to keep the barn sanitized as well.

The board also discussed a $5,000 project to install new posts in the barn as part of the ongoing repairs to the structure. This is in addition to the $10,000 of insurance money that’s going to be used for general repairs that was passed unanimously last month.

“I still think, at a project cost of $15,000 to save that office, you’re not going to do anything for less,” Smith said. “So, my recommendation would be to move forward and have Jeremy (Siemens) engineer it and get it done before the fair.”

Board Member Ray Kallenberger expressed concern about increasing investments in a building that is uninsured.

“We’ve already put almost $55,000 dollars into that building, and if we put another, I know we originally said 10,000, but now it’s 15,000, that’s 70,000, we’ve got to fix the floor in there, I think there’s gonna have to be a lot of extra costs to make it complete and then we don’t get to insure that building, just what’s inside, so do we really want to put that much in it?” Kallenberger said.

“If we don’t put the $15,000 into it, I feel like we’re going to look like idiots putting $55,000 into a building just to tear it down the very next year,” Fair Board Vice-Chair Chelby Gooch said, “I just think it makes more sense to spend the 15,000. … I think it is worth the money to fix it.”

A motion was made to use $5,000 to have the posts engineered by Siemens Engineering and the motion passed 3-2 with Ron Konesky, Bobbie Dolphay and Chelby Gooch voting yes and Ray Kallenberger and Jack Solomon voting no.

Members of the board then discussed the prospect of a new chairperson. Smith said he didn’t feel that it was appropriate for him to remain the chair of the board for at least the next six months, because he would be more needed at his company. But he did have a recommendation for his replacement.

“I think Bobbie (Dolphay) would make a great chair,” he said.

After some back and forth a motion was made to elect Dolphay as the new chair. The motion was passed unanimously.


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