The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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November 14, 2013

Blue Earth County Fair faces fight for SURVIVAL

Falling attendance, financial troubles may lead to closing one of state's oldest county fairs


The idea already faced serious opposition from the 15 shareholders that attended Tuesday's meeting, which is the largest turnout for a Fair Board meeting in years. Shareholders objected to moving the county fair from its historic, agricultural home and criticized the Fair Board's lack of communication with shareholders about big changes in recent years.

In the most dramatic instance, former president Kramer spoke at a Garden City township meeting and suggested they could buy enough shares to force the county fair not to move. But, the action was never taken after the Fair Board bylaws showed each person can only have one share.

An official shareholder vote on moving the event will be held in January. Marks and Little said they will join other board members in resigning if their plan is voted down. This would leave the Fair Board with three or fewer members to run the event.

Despite all the problems facing the county fair, Marks and Little said they are still intensely optimistic they will be able to revive the fair after the move.

“I was in 4-H as a kid. It would absolutely break my heart if we couldn't keep something like the fair running (in Blue Earth County),” said Marks. “I'm going to do everything I can on this end to make this work.”

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