Patrons lined up on the south hill hours ahead of gates opening during the 2018 Great Jones County Fair, which general manager John Harms said was the best fair in history.

Presenting the annual report with the Jones County Board of Supervisors Jan. 8, Great Jones County Fair General Manager John Harms said 2018 provided a new high-water mark.

While Harms said the fair had its best financial year, there are a multitude of ways he said that can be measured as the best year yet. In addition to finances, the emotional response received from conversations held about people’s experience both during and after the fair was among the best. The feedback in that regard has been overwhelmingly positive.

“We’ve got an overwhelming from people that want their foot in the door and to be part of what we do here,” Harms said.

Heading into 2019, the fair recently passed a few different projects. The fair board approved a number of security measures.

The board members approved a 44’ x 80’ extension onto an existing storage building on the livestock campus of the fairgrounds. Harms said the need for the building was two-fold.

First, the building will be enclosed, adding some extra security.

“Some of these building are just roofs, they’re not secure,” Harms said of the current situation. “We’re still on a park, so (the public) still has limited access for people to invade the space. It takes away that temptation.”

Secondly, it will allow the space to be organized better and make it easier to transition the space when other groups want to use space on the fairgrounds.

The other two projects are transitioning temporary fences into permanent fences. The first will be replacing the fence in the equestrian center. The work in the spring will also include improving drainage around the arena to control the water as it comes off the roof.

The new space has been one of the major projects undertaken by the fair board, and Harms said even after the fencing, there are a couple of aspects to finish.

On the agenda for the new arena is to finish the ceiling and install a circulation fan.

Work will be done to install new fencing in the compound behind the stage.

“We put a temporary fence around this area each year, and we’re going to go to a permanent fence,” Harms said.

The goal of that particular project is to give the entertainers a secure and private area to keep their trailers and tour buses.

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