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Edwards County Staple Buckles After Record Snowfall

The record snowfall late last week in Southern Illinois proved to be too much to handle for one community staple in Edwards County.

It's difficult to drive on and almost impossible to walk on. Even at a place like the Edwards County Fairgrounds, sometimes, it's the snow that stands in the way of being merry.

"It was a crash," said George Fewkes, a member of the Edwards County Fair Board. "I guess a neighbor called and said you better look out your window."

The grandstand which stood for 5 decades buckled under more than a foot of crippling snow. The structure was a community staple and provided a place to meet, gather and socialize every year at the county fair.

The loss of the structure wasn't lost on Fewkes. The irony of it wasn't either.

While saddening, But if there ever was a man who embodied the great things about the county fair, it would be Fewkes.

"[Fair Board members] were talking for the last couple years about actually making the grandstand a little longer and bigger," Fewkes said. "It's sad for it to look like what the grandstand looks like and all the things that have happened there over the years. It is sad but you have to look to the future and know it's going to get better. It might be a blessing, too."

Even though it's now just mangled metal under a thick blanket of snow, the grandstand is covered by insurance. Knowing that it will be rebuilt gives Fewkes assurance.

"We've already had plans for the fair for next year," Fewkes said. "I just don't know what the grandstand will look like but we will have a fair. It may not have a roof on the grandstand but we will have something."

Fewkes hopes to have the grandstand rebuilt before the county fair in July. No one was hurt.


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