Published On: Thu, Jan 30th, 2014

Future of Randolph Fair safe – more volunteers needed

RANDOLPH —  Discussion at the meeting to “decide if the Randolph Fair should even continue” centered on suggestions and ideas to move ahead with the 2014 Randolph Community Fair.

Nearly two dozen people came to Thursday’s meeting, which was hosted by the Randolph Community Club.

The Club has sponsored the fair with the help of volunteers and other organizations for a number of years.

No one was in favor of shutting down the Community Fair.

Discussion at the meeting included moving the date of the fair to a different weekend, ideas for events and activities, the need for more volunteers to help and suggestions on ways to increase attendance at the fair.

Marty Nordhues, who was chairing his last meeting as President of the Community Club, appreciated the good attendance and the show of support for the Randolph Fair.

“We are so happy to have so many here. This is a good turnout. That is what we needed,” Nordhues said. “We need to have more people help plan and organize the activities for Fair.”

Attendance at the Randolph Fair has been affected by other events that are going on in northeast Nebraska, according to Nordhues.

“We run into problems with other events that are on the same weekend or on the following weekend – the Pierce County Fair, Madison Fair, Chicken Show in Wayne. We are also in competition with the Cedar County Fair which is within a few days of our fair,” Nordhues said.

Moving the tentative date of July 11-13 up one week didn’t work as it would conflict with the Fourth of July weekend. Having the Fair in June may not work with all of baseball tournaments that are scheduled.

The group also talked about holding the Fair every other year in conjunction with the Randolph Alumni Reunion which has a good turnout.

After a vote by a show of hands, the date for the 2014 Fair was left at the scheduled date of July 11-13.

A decision was made to go back to a three-day fair rather than a two-day fair like last year. The annual barbecue will be Sunday evening and the street dance will be held Saturday night.

Suggestions for new activities at the Fair included a paintball tournament, softball tournament, treasure hunt, car show, a parade with a theme, a color run in place of the Fun Run/Walk or some type of obstacle course.

A follow-up will be done to see if some of the activities could be arranged and if there would be volunteers available to work.

Several complaints had been received on the absence of inflatable games and activities specifically geared towards younger kids at last year’s Fair.

The Hilltop Ponies and a kiddie train, which had been part of the 2012 Fair, were not included last year.

Another concern voiced was the need to have activities that would fit kids of all ages – not just the younger kids.

The elimination of the inflatable games last year was due to a shortage of volunteers, according to Tom Shafer, who will be serving as the new president of the Community Club.

“We need more volunteers. We need more help to be able to run the inflatable games and other activities,” Shafer said. “Everyone is busy. I know other organizations have the same problem with getting help.”

Shafer was pleased to have so many people come to the meeting and is hoping to have a good crowd at the next meeting also.

“It shows how important the fair is to the community,” Shafer said.

The group talked about asking teen groups to help at the fair all though there would be a need to pair the younger volunteers up with an adult.

Several people liked the idea of having a parade during the fair, which could include the antique tractors and cars.

One person would like to see funnel cakes brought back to the Fair.

Several people at the meeting remembered the “Dueling Pianos” had been a big hit last year.

Jeff Hoesing, Randolph school superintendent, told about some fun-filled attractions he had seen at other fairs.

“Pig wrestling was popular – they had junior, high school and adult divisions. People also loved the duck and turtle races,” Hoesing said.

Several people remembered duck races had been held during the Randolph Fair at one time.

The Livestock Show and the Home Economic Exhibits have been mainstays for the Randolph Fair.

Dennis Bazata, who serves as the liivestock chairman, said the livestock numbers at the Fair had been down but the number was up a little last year.

“Some of those old traditional families that showed livestock just aren’t around any more,” Bazata said. “Livestock has been down but last year the number increased. We had some new people – that was good.”

Pick up this week’s issue of the Randolph Times to read more!