Focus back to full county fair

After Garvin County's annual fair was severely impacted this past summer because of the COVID-19 pandemic plans have already started up with the hope of a full return in 2021.

Some folks right in the middle of planning for the next Garvin County Free Fair told all three county commissioners this week they will seek a little help in preparing for next year's big event at the county fairgrounds in Pauls Valley.

Both Melissa Koesler, director of the OSU Extension Office in Garvin County, and Debbie Arthur, member of the Garvin County Fair Board, say the hope is to possibly bring in a part-time person to help the group with the organization duties leading up to the next fair.

“He has been the one who has advised us since the fair started getting so big,” Koesler said about an unnamed individual from Cleveland County. “He would only do the free fair.”

In the brief presentation Monday it was Arthur who said the plan is to spend about $5,000 in fair board money to bring this individual in to essentially organize the entire event next summer.

“We're going to plan for a full fair, cross our fingers on that,” Arthur said.

“We would like to investigate the possibility of hiring a fair manager. That person would take the bookings, get stuff to the printers, kind of organizing us as a board. If we find that person he would help us get more organized.”

A return to a full event is on the fair board members' minds after the 2020 version this past August was hit hard by the virus threat.

In fact, because of COVID-19 a series of livestock shows was the only thing offered out of the long list of fair activities coming during a normal year. That included shows in the arena for cattle, pigs, sheep and goats.

All indoor exhibits, including those from 4-H students and the Oklahoma Home and Community Education clubs, along with a variety of outdoor activities for kids, were not part of this year's fair because of the pandemic.

Arthur said the hope is to use the organizational help to start planning for yet another full county fair next year.

“Used to it was Bob Leadford who would organize everything with fair,” she said about the now retired longtime extension director here.

“When he left Melissa and Kim Green and the fair board stepped up and rejuvenated the fair.”

More discussion on the topic is expected to come next week.

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