Chances are when you were bundling up to leave home this week and venture into the frigid Indiana winter, the steamy Elkhart County 4-H Fair held each July was pretty far from your mind. But one of the reasons we have — in our humble opinion — the best county fair in the country is because there is a dedicated group of people in our community who do think about the fair, even when it is more than eight months and roughly 80 degrees in the future.
ON MONDAY, Goshen News Entertainment and Public Safety Editor Scott Weisser – who has been covering the fair for the past two decades – outlined a list of improvements fairground officials are hoping to put in place in 2014. They include:
• New restrooms in the area of the 3-on-3 basketball courts and Young McDonald’s Farm near Gate G;
• Enhancements to “wing” bleachers on the north and south ends of the main grandstand;
• Establishment of an emergency broadcasting system that would include installation of two siren/speakers to help keep fairgoers alerted and informed in the event of an emergency;
• An upgrade to the fair’s tram system;
• And an upgrade to Rotary Drive, including drainage improvements.
ALL THAT ADDS UP to an estimated investment of $1.2 million. And those improvements don’t include the addition of a bike/pedestrian path on the south side of Madison Street that will extend from the U.S. 33 all the way to Gate 5 — roughly a mile — and greatly improve traffic safety during the fair.
It’s great to see that type of dedication and commitment to keep making the fairgrounds — a facility that helps define our community — a little bit better.
Last year more than 280,000 people attended the fair during its nine-day run. Grandstand shows with popular country music acts have become huge draws. In recent years big-name groups who have performed during the fair include Lady Antebellum, Florida Georgia Line and The Band Perry.
THE FAIRGROUNDS is such an important asset to our community beyond just the annual 4-H Fair. Recreational vehicle rallies are held there throughout the year. Club events and reunions are held there. It’s also a prominent spot for fundraiser events.
We commend 2014 Fair President Tim Yoder and the rest of the fair board for all they do to honor our proud past by keeping their eyes on the future.