Fair board allocated $75,000 in state funds

Monday, January 4, 2021

PLYMOUTH CO. — The Plymouth County Fair has received money through the COVID-19 County Fairs Relief Program.

The program was launched in late October to provide short-term relief to eligible county and district fairs for the purpose of continuing or resuming operations in the context of the public health emergency, according to information from the governor’s office.

Applications were due Nov. 16, 2020.

“Every single year, Iowans who attend their local county fair get to see, taste, and experience the positive impact Iowa agriculture has on our communities,” said Gov. Kim Reynolds. “The economic and social impact is immeasurable and it’s critical they have our support to continue operations in preparation for next year.”

The state allocated up to $6 million of federal CARES Act for the Iowa County Fairs Relief Program. This statewide program, an extension of the Small Business Relief Grant program, was offered through the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) in collaboration with the Association of Iowa Fairs (AIF).

There were three funding levels: $25,000, $50,000, and $75,000. Amounts were determined based on demonstrated revenue loss for the period of Oct. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, 2020, as compared with the corresponding period for the previous year.

Plymouth County Fair Board President Loren Schnepf said the board applied for the funds, and received the top award of $75,000.

“The money we received can only be used for maintenance, repairs, utilities and operating,” Schnepf explained. “It cannot be used for things like new building projects or land acquisition.”

Schnepf said the county fair also received an additional $25,000.

“We did not apply for the additional $25,000,” Schnepf said, noting not all the fairs applied for the grants, and there was money left over, which is how the Plymouth County Fair received additional dollars.

Area county fairs also received funds, including Cherokee County Fair, $50,000; Clay County Fair, $100,000; Marcus Community Fair, $25,000; Sioux County Youth Fair, $50,000; and Woodbury County Fair, $75,000.

The Iowa State Fair was awarded $1,000,000.

A total of $6,950,000 was awarded by the state.

The statewide program was offered by the IEDA in collaboration with the AIF.

It was on June 11, 2020, when the Plymouth County Fair Board voted to postpone the 2020 fair to 2021 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

At that time, the board issued this statement: “It is with deep regret that the decision has been made to postpone the 2020 fair until 2021.

“The fair board did not take this decision lightly, as these volunteers are some of the most passionate fair supporters you will find. It was going to be very difficult for the small board of 24 volunteers to manage all aspects of a fair this size and meet all the safety requirements to make it the ‘Best 5 Days of Summer’ you all have come to love.

“There are plans in the works to provide opportunities for youth to exhibit. The board appreciates your understanding and looks forward to seeing you July 28-Aug. 1, 2021.”

With “The Best 5 Days of Summer,” set for July 29 to Aug. 1, 2020, postponed, it allowed the Plymouth County 4-H program to rent the fairgrounds and conduct judging for all 4-H and FFA projects in a safe environment. That became the “The Gold & Clover Classic.”

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