During a discussion of whether to move the Jaycees Demolition Derby to Saturday to fill the slot opened with the cancellation of the truck pull or to move the professional rodeo to Friday and Saturday, the Hill County fair board discussed whether the fair should stay open Sunday at all.
Board member Missy Boucher brought up the discussion from previous board meetings whether it is worth staying open that day at all. She said food vendors and the carnival have reported that sales drop off on the last day, and that food vendors sometimes run out of food by Saturday night but have to stay open the last day.
Board member Chad Murnin said the board should look at how to increase the Sunday traffic.
“Something’s got to give,” he said. “Either evolve or you die, just like farmers and ranchers or business people in town.”
Hill County Commissioner Jeff LaVoi also said something needs to be changed to bring people in. Businesses don’t say business is slow on Thursdays so they will close that day, he said.
Several suggestions were made, including Clint Solomon of the committee that puts on the National Rodeo Association rodeo at the Great Northern Fair saying the board should look at making Sunday a discount day for children, rather than the normal Wednesday discounts.
Fairgrounds manager Tim Solomon said that is the decision of the carnival, not the fair board. Most carnivals want the first day of the fair children’s day, he said, adding, “and there’s a reason for it.”
He said if children’s day was moved from Wednesday to Sunday, it likely just would move the traffic and cut into Wednesday’s numbers.
Rodeo committee member Susan Brurud, also a parent of 4-H club members, said maybe the board should consider giving a discount to the 4-H participants Sunday, adding that their events bring a large number of people to the fair.
Board member Alma Seidel said that would be showing partiality to one group at the fair.
“We’re not going to go through that,” she said.
Bert Corcoran, chair of the fair board, said he agrees that the board needs to look at ways to increase the Sunday traffic. But, he said, times are changing, with fairs operating differently than they used to and many carnival companies going out of business in recent years.
“Someday, I foresee there won’t be that big ferris wheel going around and around up there,” he said.
But, Corcoran said, the fair needs to try to survive.
“I guess it’s time to try something and see if it works,” he said, adding, “I’m in favor of everybody working together here. We’re all in this together.”