'World's Greatest County Fair' gears up for 2017 centennial
Clay County Fair Centennial Vision plans include a new north entrance for the fairgrounds. A major renovation project kicks into high gear this year.
By •JOHN QUINLAN
March 15, 2014
SPENCER, Iowa | Billed as “The World’s Greatest County Fair,” the Clay County Fair will celebrate its centennial in 2017 with what is hoped will be the “World’s Greatest County Fairgrounds.”
Centennial Vision, a multi-year, multi-million-dollar makeover of the fairgrounds, is designed to make it a shining jewel not only for the fair’s centennial but also for the next 100 years of use, said Jeremy Parsons, fair manager.
It is such a big project that it cannot realistically be completed by 2017, but Centennial Vision will kick into high gear at the 2014 fair. More likely, it will be completed in 10 years. The private fundraising portion of the Centennial Vision campaign won’t really get underway until September, he said.
“I guess the biggest thing we got completed for the 2013 fair was a new $17,000 beautification project that’s really a cleanup of our north parking lot by installing a new white vinyl fence. And we’re really just beginning,” Parsons said. “We’re kicking off what we hope will be a complete revisioning of the fairgrounds.
The first of the Centennial Vision projects, to be completed this spring, will be the complete renovation of the original east gate to the fairgrounds.
“Centennial Vision is probably, literally, a 7- to 10-year, $20 million project. We’re looking at, first of all, just a building-by-building renovation of the fairgrounds. And then from that point, we’re looking at infrastructure improvements, which includes hard surfacing of our roads, replacing water and sewer – and that’s about $3.4 million total.”
Other plans include construction of a new exhibit building, a redesign of the north entrance and putting a roof over the outdoor arena.