Fair convention helps Fair Board

By: 
JENNY GESSAMAN
Reporter

The annual Rocky Mountain Association of Fairs convention left Connie Ahlgren and Alan Shammel with a wealth of information, and the November Fergus County Fair Board meeting gave them a chance to share it.

“We learned a lot, and we had a good time,” Ahlgren said. “We went to various workshops.”

New to the Fair Board, Ahlgren used the trip as a learning experience. She attended seminars on leadership, digital marketing and insurance risk and management. While some details were new to her, Ahlgren generally felt the fairgrounds was doing well by the workshops’ standards.

Ahlgren and Shammel also used the convention to visit with independent entertainers, including the carnival owner currently contract for the fair. The board members spoke to him about last year’s bouncy houses, and Ahlgren said he still didn’t want them at the 2018 fair.

“He’s going to bring in a bigger ride for kids,” he said. “Then they’re putting together this tent that’s free for little kids.”

While Shammel heard lots of praise for the bouncy houses last year, he said several carnivals pulling out of Montana meant they are now hard to find for fairs.

“We’ve got to keep [the carnival owner] happy,” he said. “There aren’t that many carnivals, and we can’t loose ours.”

Shammel and Ahlgren also spoke to a hypnotist at the convention, and booked him for the 2018 fair. Shammel remembered people loved his act at past fairs, and his mix of magic and hypnosis was booked for three shows a day.

 

In other business

• The Fergus County Fair Board approved a total of $5,462.69 in claims.

• Fergus County Commissioner Sandy Youngbauer introduced Fergus and Petroleum counties’ new extension agent, Emily Standley, who was attending the evening’s meeting.

• During the financial report, Candy Ahlgren reported the fairgrounds’ budget was on track. Fergus County Fairgrounds Office and Grounds Administrator Faith Robertson added she was monitoring for any changes from the creation of the new county department, and the resulting change in fairgrounds staff.

• Member Alan Shammel’s Entertainment Committee report included a summary of night show sponsorships. The Board lost one sponsor while gaining three, putting the current sponsorship total at $10,200.

• Member Candi Zion announced the Pavilion Committee was setting up a test for a new pavilion floor mix.  Two spots in the building will replace current flooring material with six inches of pond and concrete sands, mixed.

• 4-H Livestock Committee member Dustin Reisig presented a proposal to change the 4-H livestock release time from 5 p.m. to 12 p.m. on the Saturday of the fair.  He said most 4-H events are done by Saturday, and an earlier release time would ensure more people were around to help with clean up.

Last year, not many did, according to Reisig.

“We seriously went with a skeleton crew, and I almost worked a couple of them to death,” he said. “It was bad.”

Shammel moved, and Zion seconded, to change the time. The motion passed unanimously.

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