It will soon be the season for County fairs across the Tri-State but one in particular will have a new look this year. After a massive December snowfall caused the grandstand to collapse, Edwards County Fair Board members say plans are in the works to have it repaired.
In early December, the weight of more than a foot of snow caused the 50 year old grandstand to buckle. The structure was a community staple and provided a place to meet, gather and socialize every year at the county fair. The 'caution' tape still flutters and the frame still stands. But for George Fewkes, a fair board member, the fairgrounds are still his favorite place.
"There's a lot of memories in this fairground," Fewkes said. "If we took away our fair, I think a lot of people would be hurt."
After the collapse, insurance adjustors poured over the property to assess the damage, Fewkes said. After completing their assessment, crews removed what remained of the roof and used magnets to remove debris from the race track surface.
"Yes, I was disappointed when the roof fell in but you've got to keep in mind -- looking forward for bigger and better things," Fewkes said.
With that in mind, the county hired a local contractor from Albion to install a new roof. The grandstand might also be expanded by about 30 feet, Fewkes said. The project, Fewkes said, will be done just in time for the county fair in July.
"There will be a new look to the fairgrounds," Fewkes said. "Not only that, it will be our 150th fair. We have some extra things going on this year."
Fewkes said construction will begin in June.