The Boone County Fair Board is considering a new place to call home for its annual celebrations. A sales tax proposal last year aimed to fund Boone County’s parks and fairgrounds was rejected by nearly two-thirds of voters, leaving the Board’s usual hosting location, The Central Missouri Events Center, closed for the near future.
The small town of Sturgeon, roughly 20 miles away from Columbia, hopes to be the new host of the event. Mayor Gene Kelly said he’s optimistic about the potential possibilities.
“It will be nice for the community. It’s kind of exciting, mostly everybody I’ve talked to are really looking forward to it [the Boone County Fair],” said Kelly.
But there are obstacles to hosting the event in the town. For one, the town has a population of only 872 people, and it’s questionable whether they would be able to cope with the average attendance of 10,000 to 12,000 fairgoers that attend each year.
The Boone County Fair Board Vice President, Dave Grant said, “The fair is going to look a bit different than it has looked in the past. You know, we’re not going to be able to put on the fair at the Central Missouri Events Center, we won’t have the space, we won’t have the [same] facilities.”
Gene Kelly felt that the size of the grounds available to host the event at the John Dale Lawrence Memorial Fairgrounds would be sufficient.
“I’m not that much concerned about the size of the grounds, we probably have 20 or so acres there,” said Kelly.
While Sturgeon looks like the most likely host for now, Grant pointed out that nothing is set in stone until the final board decision this month.
“We have not finalized anything. In our last board meeting, the board voted to pursue Sturgeon –I’ll say that – but as far as any kind of contract [being signed with Sturgeon] – no, we don’t have anything like that,” said Grant.
A final decision is expected on November 12 on whether Sturgeon will take on the hosting duties or not.