by Dan Mundt
Modern facility will be better for fair exhibitors and paying customers
A project has been launched to raise funds for a new pig barn/show arena building at the Crawford County Fairgrounds.
Rhonda Grimm, a member of the committee that is spearheading the effort, said the plan is to replace the current pig barn/show arena with a free span building that will cover the same 132-foot by 172-foot area.
The committee is working with the Crawford County Fair Board on the project.
A new building is needed because the current building needs a lot of work and has structural issues.
“It has a lot of inadequacies,” Grimm said.
Exhibitors who use stalls next to the show ring often have their feed and personal items soaked when rain falls because the building’s two roofs meet there and drain into that area.
“(The new building) would be all one building under one roof – we wouldn’t have segmented sections,” Grimm said.
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Some of the current building’s support posts are broken or rotted.
And it has another problem that prevents the fair board from utilizing it for much outside of its use for he Crawford County Fair.
“The show ring is too small by today’s standards to host any additional events other than what we have,” Grimm said.
She said the building’s opportunities beyond the fair are highly limited – and nearly nonexistent.
The plan is to build a new building that will have all the facilities under one roof; it will remain open on the sides, as is the current building.
The layout, with a show ring on the west and animal stalls on the east, will also be essentially the same.
“We’re currently in search for a general contractor that has the capacity of doing a 132 by 172 (foot) free span building,” she said. “It will be one building with higher eaves and a higher roof.”
The fair board will be able to use the building in a variety of ways during the offseason.
“It would be a great draw for additional events, additional shows, like Jackpot pig shows and cattle shows and such,” Grimm said.
The old building will be completely removed and the new building will be built from the ground up.
Grimm said ground will not be broken for the project until the funds are raised.
“We’re estimating it at approximately $500,000, with prep work and electricity, and the building as a whole,” she said.
The committee that is leading the project comprises parents who have kids who have shown, or will show, animals at the current building.
“Some families that utilize this area have had many, many generations of kids participating at the county fair,” Grimm said.
“We’ve gathered a bunch of us together and we’ve decided we would take on the huge task of fundraising. As a team, we work with the fair board and everything goes through the fair board.”
The project started in 2019; The events of 2020 derailed it for a while, but it got moving again in 2021.
“Those that attended the fair in 2021 may have seen the tripods set up at the show arena with some initial ideas and plans for this – as well as the progress thermometer,” Grimm said.
About $50,000 has been raised, so far.
“We’re going to be driving hard in 2022 to make a huge amount of progress for this,” she said.
The committee will be looking for federal and state grants, as well as local and corporate support.
“We’ll also do fundraisers such as pork loin dinners,” Grimm said. “We did a ‘Banquet for Barns’ in 2019 and during the fair we do a freewill donation pork sandwich meal, also.”
Individuals interested in donating to the project may contact any fair board member, Ken and Rhonda Grimm at 712-830-1089, Brian Rank, Justin Wessel, Mike Welch, Kent Halbur, or Clint Von Glan.