By John L. Braese
ONTARIO – The use of the county’s fairgrounds has grown, but the fair is still considering how to bring people in aside from fair week.
“We are constantly working on letting people know the fair grounds are available year around, not just one week in August,” said Lynelle Christiani, fair manager. “We are not the fair, we are the fair grounds.”
Christiani told the Malheur County Court last week that she has been considering how the fairgrounds might partner with a local non-profit to open the door for additional funding.
“We are not non-profit and can’t qualify for a lot of grants,” Christiani said. “Gustavo Morales, representing Euvalcree in Ontario, has been renting out the arena for a number of Mexican rodeos. He came to me and asked to partner with the fair in hopes of getting grants to update and build new facilities at the fair.”
Christiani said such a partnership is still in the talking stages, but Morales has big plans if the two come together.
“He has talked about an indoor arena at a cost of about $3 million, but that is far in the future,” said Christiani. “We would be able to put in for a number of grants under the partnership.”
Christiani told the court she has been in contact with other counties to determine how to make the fairgrounds profitable year around.
“We are constantly asking people what they would like to see at the fairgrounds, not just during the fair,” she said. “We are having everything from tractor pulls to weddings and quinceaneras. We are trying to become the nucleus of the county, a place that meets the needs of what people want.”
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