“it’s business, not personal.”
That would be one interpretation of what happened between the City of Sturgeon and the Boone County Fair Board.
The week of December 11, Jeff Cook, president of the Boone County Fair Board announced the Boone County Fair, after four years at the Sturgeon Fair Grounds, was returning to Columbia.
The fair, starting this summer will return to its former home immediately northeast of Columbia.
He said the county giving the city of Columbia the fairground to be run by Columbia Parks and Recreation was a major factor in the decision, as the difference in attendance.
“We just never had as many people come to the fair when it was in Sturgeon,” he said of holding the fair on Sturgeon’s four-acre fairgrounds. “We were going in the hole every year. That just could not continue.”
He said he was not contradicting statements published in the Fireside Guard the previous summer regarding how, due to the run-down conditions of the Columbia Fair grounds, it would be cost prohibitive to return the fair to Columbia.
“That was when we were talking about a three-to-five-year lease from the county,” Cook said. “This will be the fair’s permanent home. We will have to grow it. The electric wire is all gone from the livestock barn, but we’ve had to replace that twice before. We know what it takes. Electrical supply houses will help us with material donations and there will be plenty of volunteers to help install everything.”
He said there were “never enough spectators” attending events in Sturgeon.
The only exception he said was the draft horse pull, which, Cook said, did draw a larger crowd when in Sturgeon.
He disagreed with the suggestion that the demolition derby also drew more people in Sturgeon. “It drew more cars, yes, but more people came to watch when the fair was in Columbia.”
Sturgeon Mayor Steve Crosswhite said he was disappointed, but understood the fair board’s decision.
“We are disappointed it is going back to Columbia,” Crosswhite said. “We were very happy to have them here and would be happy to entertain the idea of them returning. But we understand they needed to make a big decision about the future of the fair and do what is right for the future of the Boone County Fair.”
County Fair leaving Sturgeon