Fairgrounds host more than just fair

By Emily Grove

Special to the Osceola Edition

EVART — Although some people only identify the Osceola County Fairgrounds with the annual 4-H FFA Fair, others know that the venue is host to numerous events throughout the year.

These events play a large role in raising funds that ultimately flow back and contribute to the Osceola County Fair each year.

The Osceola County 4-H-FFA Fair Board works year round to ensure the fair can go on.

The non-profit group started as a support group, but now is almost completely responsible for guaranteeing a fair after state support was lost.

“We no longer receive funds from the state,” Fair Board treasurer Cheryl Sherman said. “We get some support from the county as a donation, but the main revenue is camping and wedding receptions.”

Fair Board president Dave Brooks said that people are unaware the grounds include a full-service campground.

“One issue we’re looking at very hard right now is if people know we have cheapest and most modern camping in the area,” he said. “We’re looking at promoting that a little more.”

Aside from the camping and weddings held in the new Community Building, Brooks said the grounds are constantly busy.

“The Michigan Trappers come in the spring and fall, the woodcarvers are in here twice a year, there’s the Dulcimer Festival next weekend, the travel trailer group comes in too and in the off season in October a theater group has come in and performed,” Brooks said. “We’re booked all the time.”

The Dulcimer Festival, also known as The Non-Electric Music Funfest, will take place July 14-17.

Brooks estimates the event has been around for 40 years and is one of the larger events held at the fairgrounds.

“It’s just a big acoustic music festival where people come from all over the U.S.,” said Brooks. “There are workshops for different instruments, stage show performances, and all the time people just jamming around.”

The Dulcimer Festival draws in a good amount of revenue, Brooks said.

And although funding the fair is the most important part of the job, the Fair Board is committed to making the grounds a community area.

It’s always a community place and our goal is to keep it that way,” Sherman said.

The county meal program is held at the fairgrounds, along with a senior citizens group meeting once a week, and zumba classes.

It’s just important to serve the community as much as possible, Brooks said.

“We support not only our facility but be able to put the fair on every year,” he said.

“It’s our duty to host all things we do.”