Crews fixing up, sprucing up Malheur County Fairgrounds

New buildings will be ready for this year’s entries showing animals at the fair. (Enterprise file photo)

Last month I made the statement: “I believe 1977 was the last new building here at the fairgrounds.” Of course I was wrong and of course I was corrected – immediately! 

I owe Frank and Lyndia Ausman and their team which built the new Dairy Barn an apology! I don’t know what I was thinking…In fact when I came to the fair two years ago I chose the red trim on the barns to match the Dairy Barn. And it isn’t a coincidence that the Small Animal Barn and Girvin will look very similar to the Dairy Barn; we purposefully copied it. 

Meanwhile, it feels like March Madness here at the fairgrounds. Crews are feverishly working on repairs and rebuilding. Glenn Bros. Construction of Nyssa is working on the Hog Barn and Horse Barns. They have finished repairing the loafing shed roof and the Commercial Building, which needed beams repaired. It has been a pleasure to work with Mike Glenn and his team. 

The crew from Steve’s Backhoe also has spent a lot of March with us, doing ground work for Glenn Bros. as well as Rywest Construction (Fruitland). It’s so exciting to see all the people working to help put the fairgrounds back together. Thanks to all! 

Last month I mentioned Wyatt Currey’s senior project set for March 17. It was a huge success! Kudos to Wyatt, his friends and family that helped him with his project. And kudos to the folks that came out to support Wyatt and the fairgrounds. We enjoyed a great meal that was prepared by Brian Wolfe and his team. Sam Baker did the auction– It’s astounding how an auctioneer can make you happy you spent too much money for something you may not have even wanted!

My favorite part was the dessert auction. They are always fun, plus everyone shared what they bought. Wyatt’s senior project was a success, and everyone had a good time. Hopefully someone will repeat this next year.

Recently we had the Snake River Correctional Institution work crew here at the fairgrounds tearing the old, tattered fencing out of the arena. Then they dug down about a foot all around the arena to get to a cable that was buried, rolled up wire, painted the uprights and more. Vern Keffer of Vern’s Custom Ranch Construction and his team are putting up new fencing up. Advisory board member Dave Tschida spent all day working on this project. Scott Brown of the county road crew spent the afternoon knocking down and spreading out the dirt hills north of the grandstands. The SRCI crew worked behind Scott picking up garbage that had been dumped in past years. 

Getting rid of the hills and the garbage will give us more, much needed, parking for our events in the arena.

Our new caretaker, Jason Malchow, spent hours mucking out the rough stock pens after a full day of working in the arena. Shad Hansen, Fair Board chair, spent his weekend pulling the dirt back into the arena. 

I am thrilled to introduce you all to our new Advisory Board members:

Stephanie Ainsworth grew up on a dairy farm in western Oregon and was active at the local fair in 4-H for 12 years. After graduating from EOU, she moved to Ontario in 1999. She and her husband have two daughters and own/operate a local nursery. Stephanie will be involved in running the Red Barn at fair this year. 

Joshua Kreger was born in San Jose, California, moved to Meridian, Idaho at age 2 . He grew up next door to his parent’s restaurant, and raised all types animals in his youth. He moved to Vale in 2008 and started working at the County Courthouse doing technical work for the Information Services Department. He and his wife Onanong spend their time with their family and friends, working on their house, enjoying the outdoors and visiting her family in Thailand.

As for far, the exciting news is that we will have a carnival this year! Funtime Carnival will be here Aug. 1-4. And for those who enjoyed our Fair Time Concert Series last year, it will be back. We have booked

Micky and the Motorcars, again; Tylor and the Train Robbers; and Muzzie Braun.

Mark your calendars for August 2 – The concert will begin at 6 p.m. The cost is only the $5 fair admission. 

In case you haven’t heard me brag on my Fair Board. Let me say that I work with the most amazing individuals, all volunteers working to make the fair the best it can be for our kids. The board meets at 6 p.m. on the third Monday of the month, and it’s open to the community.

Serve Day is April 28. We hope to see you here to help paint. Thanks to all who have already stepped up to help out!