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County fair fares well

Mower County Board members learned that the Mower County Fair fared well despite a drop in attendance this year.

Ken Trom, director of the Mower County Fair Board, told the board that while attendance at the 2010 fair had dropped substantially — about 15 percent — overall, the event operated at a profit.

"The worst possible thing was that it was 95 percent humidity and 95 degrees all week," Trom said, "and it showed."

Average attendance has hovered around 83,000 for the week, he said. This year's total topped out at 69,000.

Those who did attend, however, spent money.


Though the grandstand performances and beer garden brought in nearly $10,000 less than last year, profits from new sponsorships, concession rental space and storage space climbed by more than $21,000.

The human cannonball, steer wrestling, cowboy shootout and Izaak Walton League offerings were popular attractions, Trom said, but "the grandstand was just so-so."

He told board members that Mower County wasn't alone in battling declining grandstand sales.

"Some (counties) are almost ready to give up" holding those events, Trom said.

Appraisals approved

In other action, the board approved a contract with Vanguard Appraisals Inc. to perform commercial/industrial appraisal services.

The cost of the $275,000 contract will be covered by the land record fund, Oscarson said, which collects money through deed recording fees, among others.

The appraisal service will also be a training exercise, said Mower County Assessor Rich Peterson, so his staff can learn to do the appraisals themselves.


There has never been a comprehensive appraisal of the county's buildings, board members learned, which has led to discrepancies in taxes.

"The inequities are so bad, the finance committee was lucky to get someone like Vanguard to come in and do it," said Tucker. "This project is long overdue.

"But let me make this perfectly clear," he said to Peterson. "Your office will never do this again; your office will be brought up to speed, and keep (the appraisals) up."

The project is expected to be completed by January 2012.

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