4-Hers getting new exhibit space at fairgrounds

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 5, 2011

PROCTORVILLE — There will be some new sights for the 4-Hers exhibiting at this year’s county fair, thanks to an investment of about $60,000 at the Rome Township fairgrounds.

For the first time rabbit and chicken exhibitors will have a free-standing barn for showing off their prize animals. The new barn will offer about 50 percent more space over the old exhibit area. There will be 140 rabbit entries and 17 chicken entries expected in July.

“A lot of them are taking rabbits because of the expense,” Fair Board President Freddie Hayes said.

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The price tag for the rabbit barn was about $30,000.

Also the 4-H exhibit booth is getting a new roof from an almost $18,000 contribution from County Clerk Mike Patterson.

“And there’s all kinds of new concrete walks,” Hayes said.

Right now there are 525 young people enrolled in 4-H clubs across the county.

Wanting to serve the county’s youth is the motivation for the improvements at the fairgrounds. And even though this year’s fair has yet to open, the fair board is already planning upgrades for next year. High on that list is to replace the livestock barn and arena, a project that will take several years for completion.

“The fair board has committed that if the barn committee will raise $30,000, we will borrow $30,000 to build a new barn,” Hayes said.

Already the barn committee has a start on its fundraising goal with a $5,000 donation from Liebert Corp. Tentative plans are to replace the hog section first.

While the fair brings out the 4-Hers and their families, fairgoers also come for the carnival rides, food and entertainment.

As far as the entertainment lineup, officials are planning to have two motocross events instead of the tractor pull.

“The reason being the last seven to eight years, we have lost money,” Hayes said. “We don’t want that any more.”

Show headliner will be new country-electro-acoustic singer Jerrod Niemann whose single “Lover, Lover,” went to the top of the country charts in August 2010. Niemann records under the Mercury-Nashville, Category 5 and Arista-Nashville labels. Joining Niemann will be the LoCash Cowboys.

Monday of fair week will be Lawrence County Day when the 4-H exhibit building will be dedicated to long-time county commissioner, the late George Patterson.

Fair officials are expecting a big turnout this year.

“We think it will be a good fair because people will stay home because of the gas prices,” Jim Gore, fair vice president said.

“And all this work will get people talking,” Hayes said.

The fair runs from July 9 to July 16.