Editorial: Get going on a Stark County fairgroundsLike a Ferris wheel, a fairgrounds project keeps going round and round. It’s become dizzying.
Like a Ferris wheel, a fairgrounds project keeps going round and round. It’s become dizzying.
Stark County Fair Association members are trying to procure a decent parcel of land to make a permanent home for fairgrounds, but it seems like somehow someone isn’t trying hard enough.
The Dickinson Press has been filled with headlines regarding designated fairgrounds for years; from forming the committee to be in charge of the project to designs. And at least one County Commission candidate in spring 2008 added support and desire to get a fairgrounds off the ground as part of his campaign (he wasn’t elected).
It started in 1987 when Stark County acquired land west of Dickinson. The Park Board committed $500,000 to the project in February 2008, contingent on development of a specific plan.
A colorful design, complete with riding arena and nature trails, was released in April 2009.
Readers learned in May 2009 construction would get underway that summer.
Then there was a nice groundbreaking celebration in July 2009 with smiling faces.
Then smiles started to fade. In January 2010 those groundbreaking photos fell to the past as funding began to falter.
In November 2010, half of the Fair Association’s 14 members called it quits.
Most recently, Fair Association members discussed a land swap with a Utah company.
Even Frank Klein of the association seems somewhat fed up as he spoke of his discouragement after 10 years and still no fairgrounds during a Monday meeting.
So here we are.
Fairs have long been a rite of passage for children and teens, and long-awaited events throughout long North Dakota winters.
Dickinson has a fair, scattered throughout the city and attendance is minimal.
Many of us recall days spent at the fair with friends and family, listening to music, spending money foolishly on games and unhealthy food, learning about community organizations, and realizing the creativity our neighbors harbor through their artwork, food and technological submissions, and of course, seeing which farms take home top prize on animals they’ve groomed the entire year just for the fair (and the animal auction at the end of judging can be quite dramatic).
Hours can be spent at fairs and still onlookers don’t have time to take everything in.
The design presented in early 2010 was elaborate and beautiful and right on. Now it needs to be put in place — now!
Will this ride come to an end, or did we get suckered in — like a cotton candy-holding child with one ticket left who believes the knock-over-the-bowling pin game isn’t rigged?
Publisher Harvey Brock and Editor Jennifer McBride are on The Press Editorial Board.