Fairground Facelift winners

Fairgrounds win Fairground Facelift grants

Six fairground improvement projects will receive a total of $7,500 in grants through Grinnell Mutual’s Fairground Facelift initiative. The annual promotion gives county fairgrounds in Grinnell Mutual’s writing territory a chance to rally their communities and raise money to make improvements.

Grinnell Mutual received more than 50 fairground project submissions from 11 states. Fairground supporters then cast nearly 13,000 votes for their favorite projects among the 11 finalists. The six winning recipients shared a total of $7,500 worth of grants and were chosen based on the number of votes received.

"We understand the importance of local fairgrounds in communities. Fairgrounds provide a place for community members to interact and gather with each other," said Grinnell Mutual Director of Advertising and Community Relations Barb Baker. “The Fairground Facelift grant is Grinnell Mutual's way to help local fairgrounds improve and maintain current facilities."

Davis County Fairgrounds, Bloomfield, Iowa

Davis County Fairgrounds in Bloomfield, Iowa, will receive the $3,000 grand prize to move their current ice cream stand into a larger building in the fairgrounds.

“Our local 4-H clubs work the ice cream stand during the fair, and the fair board serves ice cream during the music festival in the fall,” said Lexis Frymoyer, Davis County Fair board secretary. “We are so excited to be able to move this into a bigger building!

“We want to thank Grinnell Mutual for offering this grant opportunity and the wonderful Davis County community for sticking together and voting daily!”

Two other county fairgrounds will each receive $1,500 runner-up prizes and three more will receive $500 honorable mention prizes to support their fairground renovation projects.

Barlow Independent Fair, Barlow, Ohio

Barlow Independent Fair of Barlow, Ohio, will receive a $1,500 runner-up prize through Grinnell Mutual’s Fairground Facelift initiative to renovate the historic roundhouse by installing new floors and siding and an updated electrical system.  

Barlow Independent Fair board members Blake and Abby Campbell saw the opportunity to improve a great piece of Barlow Independent Fair history and decided to apply.

“We would like to thank Grinnell Mutual for providing the grant and we would also like to thank our amazing community supporters who voted for the Barlow Independent Fair!” said Abby, fair secretary. 

“We have an amazing community. We truly are one big fair family. Thank you to all who support the Barlow Independent Fair and its future!” 

Murray County fairgrounds, Slayton, Minn.

Murray County Fairgrounds in Slayton, Minn., will receive a $1,500 runner-up prize to enhance their creative arts building.

The building is over 45 years old and in need of many updates. It is used by 4-H members and open-class exhibitors. In 2019, there were nearly 1,800 open-class entries alone.

“The Murray County fair is the best free fair in Southwest Minnesota. We have such a huge turnout with 4-H members and open-class exhibits,” said Kim Konkol, Murray County Fair board secretary. “We plan to redo the roof and install new lighting in the creative arts building to enhance the viewing pleasure for all the fairgoers.

“We have such great support from near and far,” said Konkol. “A huge thanks to everyone that voted for Murray County! And a huge thank you to Carisa Clarke, Minnwest Insurance Agent. If not for her, we would not have known about the opportunity to apply for a Fairground Facelift grant. Thanks to Grinnell Mutual for believing in the local fairs.”

Cedar County Fairgrounds, Hartington, Neb.

Cedar County Fairgrounds in Hartington, Neb., will receive a $500 honorable mention prize to repair a barn that was damaged after a severe flood in March 2019. The grant will be used for the finishing touches such as gates, fences, and bleachers.

For Kristi Bruning, a former 4-H member and daughter of a fair board member, the Cedar County Fairgrounds are near and dear to her heart.

“Growing up, the fairgrounds and livestock shows brought so many friends together and formed so many lasting friendships,” said Bruning. “My parents are very involved in the Ag Society, Extension office, and 4-H program. My siblings and I have our families involved in those same programs.

“I would like to thank all the voters who helped us finish as a Fairground Facelift honorable mention. I would also like to thank Grinnell Mutual for re-investing in our communities. This project will last for many future generations. It means so much!”

Meigs County Fair, Pomeroy, Ohio

Meigs County Fair in Pomeroy, Ohio, will receive a $500 honorable mention prize to build a new horse announcer stand that will replicate the ordinal stand, built in 1852.

“Receiving the $500 grant will help us to continue to restore our fairgrounds to the 1850 design and provide a safe vantage point for the harness racing judge. We have two days of harness racing each year and the judge must be able see the entire 1/2-mile track,” said Debbie Watson, Meigs County Fair secretary and staff member.

“We would like to thank Grinnell Mutual first, of course, but also residents of Meigs County for their continued support of our small county fair. Meigs County is an awesome place to live!”

Turner County Fair, Parker, S.D.

Turner County Fair in Parker, S.D., will receive a $500 honorable mention grant to improve its outdoor picnic area.

“The Fairground Facelift grant will help reduce trip hazards, making it easier for our guests of all abilities to get from one place to the other safely,” said Darcy Andersen, Turner County Fair board president. “We will also divert water flow from the area so it doesn’t turn into a muddy mess and create a slip hazard.”

“We'd like to thank Grinnell Mutual for this opportunity and generous gift, Jensen Insurance for passing along the details, our fair staff and board, and all our wonderful volunteers and fairgoers who dutifully showed their support for South Dakota's oldest county fair by voting daily,” said Andersen.

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“The Murray County fair is the best free fair in Southwest Minnesota. We have such a huge turnout with 4-H members and open-class exhibits,” said Kim Konkol, Murray County Fair board secretary. “We plan to redo the roof and install new lighting in the creative arts building to enhance the viewing pleasure for all the fairgoers.