Over the past several years, the Crawford County Fair Association has undertaken a major capital improvement campaign.

In 2016, the CCFA completed a new event center with the assistance of a major donation from the Skubitz Trust. The previous year, the CCFA expanded the livestock building at the fairgrounds by 90 feet with the help of a $40,000 donation from Crawford County Farm Bureau Association members.

In 2018, the CCFA completed new climate-controlled restroom and shower facilities just in time for the annual fair with significant assistance from the Crawford County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“The Grandstand 2020 project is our major project going forward,” according to Robert Tersinar, who has been CCFA treasurer since 2005. “It will be the culmination of a long-range plan to significantly improve the Fair Grounds.”

So far, the CCFA has raised $60,000 of its $300,000 goal, Tersinar said in a recent email. The original west grandstand at the fairgrounds was built in the late 1930s by the Works Progress Administration as part of President Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal. The CCFA board determined in 2013 that the wooden structure was unsafe because of dry rot and Crawford County offered to demolish the structure.

A new steel framed and aluminum structure is estimated to cost from $200 to $300,000. “We also want to reproduce the covered roof that provides shade and protection during events,” Tersinar noted.

Although the CCFA originally aimed to raise the money for the grandstand through fair revenues and profits from events it sponsors, because of other fair expense it became clear that a separate fundraising effort was necessary, Tersinar said.

“We have had major commitments in the last year from two banks in Girard, as well as family memorials for loved ones ear marked for the Grandstand Project over the last 10 plus years,” Tersinar noted. The Crawford County Commission and City of Girard have been important backers of the project.

“We are optimistic that the support for the Grandstand is out there,” Tersinar said, adding that the grandstand is the fair’s major revenue source. “A safe, modern grandstand is an investment in the future of the Crawford County Fair.”

The CCFA has partnered with the Community Foundation of Southeast Kansas, allowing it to accept tax deductible 501c3 donations. Donations can be made through the Crawford County Fair’s Facebook page, at http://crawfordcountyfair.org/ or at the Community Foundation of SEK website, http://www.southeastkansas.org/.