Issue of: May 13, 1998  


County fair board vies for fix-up dollars

Express Staff Writer

What’s a fair without tented vendors or tempting food stands?

Locally, and at least for now, it’s the Blaine County Fair every August, in the town of Carey.

Those planning the community event are trying to do something about this state of affairs.

Monday, the fair board went to the Blaine County Commissioners for advice after a recent denial of a request for a $150,000 Idaho Department of Commerce Community Development Block Grant.

A big part of the project is the need for enough electricity to light vendors’ tents at night and power operations.

It also includes rehabbing two buildings and adding a third structure for handicap accessible bathrooms.

"The whole thing is just not acceptable," fair board president Wendy Thornton said. "You can’t have a fair without food available, especially in Carey where nothing’s open at night."

Thornton has monitored the county fair for 16 years on the fair board, and said whether or not the board sees any grant money, something has to be done.

She described several fiascos over the past few years with concessions leaving in the middle of the event, fuses blowing and rickety rental handicap restrooms.

"It’s sad, the conditions of a county fair having to go through all that stuff," she said.


In an "if at first you don’t succeed, try again" attempt at raising money, the fair board will stick with the Department of Commerce block grant strategy.

A county building inspector will examine the structures this summer and provide the block grant review board a report of his findings. It will be submitted when the fair board applies for the grant again.

Poor communication of the situation at the fair grounds was faulted for the first denial by Carleen Herring of Region IV Development in Twin Falls.

"They want us to build new from the ground up. They think it’s a waste to put money in old buildings, and we’re on the opposite end of the spectrum." Herring said.

The existing buildings are strong, worth preserving and less expensive to restore than rebuild, Herring said.


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