New swine/sheep complex in the works for Clayton County Fairgrounds

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The new swine and sheep complex at the Clayton County Fairgrounds is expected to be more functional and versatile.

By Rachel Mergen, North Iowa Times Intern

“This is an exciting time for the Clayton County Fair,” the Clayton County Fair Board stated in a letter to residents of the county. “After a year of planning and knowing something had to be done to replace the old swine barn that was built in the 1930s, the fair board has decided to construct a new swine and sheep complex before the 2018 fair, if we receive enough funding.” 

“Our main goal,” the letter went on to say, “is provide an opportunity to show swine, sheep and small animals with adequate room, a safe area for the youth, spectators and the animals. A new show arena under one roof will be centrally located in the complex where the swine, sheep, small animals and poultry shows are held during the fair. This complex is both functional and versatile to meet the fair’s needs as well as potential other uses in the future. The possibilities are endless.” 

The project to build a new swine and sheep complex for the Clayton County Fairgrounds began approximately two years ago. The new building was needed due to the poor structure of the current complex, said Kristin Oberbroeckling, one of the complex chairpersons. Insurance will also no longer cover the older building starting in August 2018.

Oberbroeckling said she originally thought the fundraising goal would be a challenge, but she said, “It was not as hard as we thought it would be.” She celebrated how much the local community has helped the project after the fair board’s letter was sent out to everyone in the county. 

The new swine and sheep complex’s dimensions will be 234 feet by 72 feet. While the old building would not allow for people to walk through it without hitting their heads, the new one is designed to help avoid such a problem. The building will be safer and allow for smoother movement for fair participants and viewers.

When walking into the building, fair attendees will find sheep on one side of the structure, with swine on the other. 

The fair board’s goal for the project is to raise $250,000. This amount must be met prior to the beginning of construction. As of July 28, Oberbroeckling stated $197,000 had been received. 

Prominent donations included every bank in the county donating $10,000, along with every nurse at Gundersen donating to the cause. 

If someone donates $50,000 or more, they also have the option to name the new complex.

Donations of any size are greatly appreciated, though, and Oberbroeckling mentioned that, after long days, “the donations revive us.”

Some fundraisers to support the building’s construction have been completed by the 4-H clubs, including dances and other events in the community. 

Currently, according to Oberbroeckling, construction is expected to start in the fall and end prior to the 2018 fair, if enough funds are collected. The fair board is working to find bids for the building and to finish writing a few more grants. 

Information on the project will be available at the Clayton County Fair, which is set to take place Aug. 2-7, in National. Donation forms will be available at the office and the commercial building. Forms can also be mailed to P.O. Box 11, Garnavillo, IA 52049. 

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