Martin County Fair seeks boost in funding

FAIRMONT — The Martin County Fair is a big event for many, but the Martin County Fair board of directors is usually hidden in the background.

But it works diligently to line up vendors and entertainment; organize events; provide ongoing building and grounds maintenance; and generally provide a great fair-going experience for everyone.

The other unseen factor is the cost associated with such an event.

Earlier this week, Martin County commissioners heard from Martin County Fair board director Calvin Saxton, who presented a request for an increase in funding. The fair received $15,000 from the county for 2019, and is asking that funding be increased to $17,000, as it had been for several years prior to 2019.

Saxton explained the reasons behind the request, which the board filed for future review.

“Thank you for all the past support,” he said. “I know you have to deal with a lot of budget issues, but we did make a request to go back up a couple thousand dollars.

“Just one examples of what the dollars go for is the great facilities we have, but they do age. We put all new lights in the cattle barn this summer. Those were the original fixtures, so that will be a great energy savings.”

Saxton touched on other services the fairgrounds provides, including the ability of other organizations to utilize the site. Examples include Kinship of Martin County, Relay for Life, post-prom events and the Project 1590 organization. The Martin Soil and Water District uses a building for its annual tree distribution, and the Martin County 4-H Extension is also housed on the grounds.

“I was out there talking to the Extension people, and they’re just exuberant to be out there,” noted Commissioner Steve Flohrs. “Things are going well; they enjoy working with you, and you guys have bent over backwards every time they need something. So I sure appreciated you bringing them out there in one of your buildings.”

“Anything to help 4-H helps the fair,” Saxton said. “It’s a huge part of the fair, and we have a great working relationship, so I’d say it’s been a very smooth transition.”

“Obviously, everybody relates the fairgrounds to the fair, but there’s so many other things that happen out there for the community. We know you know that, but we always like to keep it at the forefront that the week of the fair is not all the facilities are used for.”

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