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What the Bureau County Fairgrounds is thankful for this season

Published: Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 1:52 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, Nov. 22, 2013 1:52 p.m. CST

Fall is turning into winter rapidly around Bureau County. As we prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, the Bureau County Fair Board would like to thank everyone who helped make our 2013 a successful year.

While you are attending the events at the fairgrounds, you may not realize how many people are working behind the scenes to make that event happen. We especially want to thank our “spook crew” who help create and operate the Nightmare on Fairgrounds Road haunted attraction.

Dave Mead and his crew start working in November planning for the haunted house the following October. They build sets and work on the buildings throughout the year. This is the fair’s largest fundraiser, and there are more than 100 people who are instrumental in achieving that goal every year. We could not do the weekly event without all of the actors who come out and enjoy terrorizing the customers or the crew who build and repair all of the scenes.

Another group that is very behind the scenes is the fair’s grounds crew. They take care of the cleaning, repairs and set up and tear down all year long. Mowing the fairwgrounds becomes almost a full-time job in the summer. They really get a workout fair week and the weeks leading up to the fair. They are working many hours, starting early in the morning picking up trash and helping get ready for shows and doing repairs. We could not do our events without their hard work.

We are also thankful for our long-time renters, the Sauk Trail Gun Club. They have been a part of the fairground’s calendar of events for more than 30 years. They have helped the fair over the years by purchasing tables and donating money for repairs including helping to pay for the kitchen and restroom remodeling jobs. The Sauk Trail Gun Collectors Show and Sale will be this weekend, with doors opening at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday. There are four events a year, with the next being Jan. 25 and 26.

We are also thankful for all of the volunteers who help make the fair a success. Each department has a superintendent and usually an assistant or two who help with entries and recording the judging results.

The fine arts department superintendents sit with their departments the entire time the fair is open and keep an eye on the items that have been entered. Thanks to all of the judges for their hard work picking the winners. Whether they are comparing steers or photographs, the judges have to be fair in all of their decisions, and judging is a challenging job.

We are especially thankful for our many food vendors and commercial exhibitors who also put in long hours during fair week. The entertainers in the hospitality tent are a favorite attraction at the fair, and we appreciate the hard work Gary Swanson goes through in presenting their acts.

Other upcoming events on the fairgrounds schedule are a Craft and Trade Show on Dec. 14 presented by the Ohio School and a baseball league fundraiser trivia night that same night.

WZOE is having its Farm Show at the fairgrounds on Dec. 21. Come out and meet Max Armstrong and see the many vendors with all types of farm-related businesses.

Special Olympics Winter Games will be held outdoors at the fairgrounds on Saturday, Jan. 4. Athletes will compete in snowshoeing and cross county ski races to qualify for the State Special Olympics Winter Games.

The fair board will travel to Springfield in January to the Illinois State Fair Convention. Our queen, Ashley Simmon, will compete against all of the other fair queens in Illinois to win the title of Miss Illinois County Fair queen during the state pageant.

Fair boards go to the convention to look at the entertainers who are looking for fairs to perform at along with promoters for demo derbies, rodeos, magic acts, musical acts, circuses and many other entertainers. Speakers will present programs throughout the weekend that help to teach board members about many different subjects including teamwork, ticketing, booking entertainment and off season rentals. Come to Springfield to help cheer Ashley on in her quest for the crown.

Again as we go into the Thanksgiving holiday, we want to thank everyone who works so hard to make the Bureau County Fair a success as we go into our 159th year.

Kathy Costerisan is a representative for the Bureau County Fairgrounds.

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