The Yellow Medicine County Fair Association made the difficult decision to go without a carnival for this year's fair.
The two carnivals previously being discussed both fell through. One, which would have brought only a partial carnival for Fourth of July weekend, stopped returning phone calls. It had been felt from the beginning that they weren't truly interested in coming for the fair.
The owner of the other carnival gave a wrong date, originally stating there was an opening Labor Day weekend, while it was actually the previous weekend which was open. This would be the first weekend of the state fair, and all state-qualifying 4-H projects and livestock would, therefore, be unavailable for the county fair. In addition, the carnival owner would not know for sure if the weekend was even open until March, and the board simply couldn't afford to wait that long to begin booking entertainment.
In lieu of a carnival, the board will work with All About Fun Rentals from Madison to provide large inflatables and other attractions. The desired date would be the weekend of July 11-13 with July 25-27 as the secondary option, depending on the availability of All About Fun Rentals. The grandstand will hold baja races Saturday evening during the fair. The tractor pull will be held if available, and the demo derbies, which have been failing, will be dropped. Alternatives to replace the derbies, and the tractor pull, if necessary, include figure 8 racing and bull riding. Having a drive-in movie in the grandstand area was also mentioned as a new idea and will be looked into. For the free shows in the Pavilion, the planned line-up, pending availability, will be a polka band, a bluegrass band, and a hypnotist.
Possibilities for arts and cultural events using Legacy funds from the state include Native American dance demonstration, log carving, and hands-on painting demonstrations. The $11,000 of grant money designated for agricultural purposes will be used toward purchasing supplies for new stalling in the livestock barns. Changes will most likely not be completed before this year's fair as decisions still need to be made regarding the barns.
Open class judging will once again be the Wednesday evening prior to the fair, as this was very successful last year. The levels of sponsorships were changed up a bit to add a higher tier available for sponsors and eliminating the lower levels. Sponsor levels will now be $100, $250, $500, and there will be a new level at $1,000, at which businesses will receive two sponsor banners, mention at the grandstand shows, and five grandstand passes. The next fair board meeting will be Thursday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. at the office on the fairgrounds.