By TRISTA PRUETT Citizen Staff Reporter

Last year, the ribbon cutting of the major improvement project on the Dodge County fairgrounds was one of the first events of the fair.

The new bathrooms were 50 percent larger than the previous bathrooms in the same location.

This year, improvements focused on several other well-used areas. The horse arena, youth building and the co-op building saw work over the last year. Funding for projects started with grants from Farm Tech Days.

“Farm tech days had a lot to do with it,” said Keil. “We understand that there’s still some money left in Farm Tech Days and we’re hoping to apply for a grant again to do some more improvements on the grounds. It’s really nice that they pick some groups on the fair grounds. It’s a nice facility.”

The coop building project received the largest amount of funding, getting a $15,000 grant from Farm Tech Days.

“The biggest change that was made this year is the co-op building that’s being remodeled,” said fair board secretary Sharon Keil.

“We’re involved with it, but actually the Wisconsin women for agriculture, the farm bureau and the 4-H leaders association were given grant money from Farm Tech Days and that’s who’s really spending the dollars. Whatever they don’t cover, we will pick up on our end of things, because it’s our building. They operate a food stand out of it and that’s why they did it.”

With state regulations, the groups wanted to improve the building and the food stand.

“They had a black top floor,” Keil said. “It’s now concrete. If they didn’t do anything else, that made 100 percent improvement. At one time they had a stage and behind that stage was another little room. Now they’ve opened it completely up.”

The groups also fixed the problem with drainage in the building.

“If it rains, it’s going to run out,” Keil said. “Before it kind of ran in. That’s our biggest improvement for the year and that is really thanks to those three groups. We probably couldn’t have done it without those three groups.”

The horse arena renovations received a $10,000 Farm Tech grant.

The original horse arena was built in the mid 1970s.

“What they’ve done is take down the old boards and they’re putting up a whole new arena,” Keil said. “The arena is in the same place, but they just put up the new fencing and railing. They’re going to have a new judge’s stand and that’s thanks to their grant from farm tech days.”

The youth building improvements benefited from an $8,000 grant.

Keil said the Dodge County Fair Association is considering improvements in the beef and sheep barn, because it has never been finished.

“They weren’t quite sure how they wanted to set up pens when the building was built and that was probably 20 years ago,” Keil said “They’ve come to the decision they know where they want to go, so between them and us, we’re going to blacktop walkways in there. We’re going to do it on a fifty-fifty basis. They use the building and it belongs to us. They actually built it and then for a dollar, they donated it to the fair.”

Further into the future, they are considering large improvements on the arts and crafts building.

“Our arts and crafts building has become too small,” Keil said. “We have more entries than we can fit in the arts and crafts building. Our hope for next year is to increase the size of that building and make it a bigger facility and a better facility.”

Original article at: Beaver Dam Daily Citizen |