For The Tribune

The Jackson County Fair board always is looking for ways to improve the fairgrounds before the fair each year.

The members didn’t have to look very far for one major project as they started preparations for this year’s fair, which begins its seven-day run July 24.

In fact, they only had to look up to see that many of the fair’s buildings, including many of the larger livestock barns, needed new roofs.

“No one really knows when the last time the roofs were replaced, if ever,” board member Jerry Houn- shel said. “The metal was getting really thin and was almost dangerous to try to work on.”

The fair was first conducted at its present site, just east of Brownstown, in 1939.

The board decided to replace the roofs on four of the livestock barns, the antique building and the building that houses the fair office.

The cost of the project was about $60,000 and will be paid for through $50,000 the fair will receive from the county council this year and next, said John Schafstall, the fair board’s vice president.

The board will pay the remainder of the costs for the work.

Daviess County Metal Sales in Montgomery won the contract for the roof project.

“They have been great to work with, and they gave us a really great deal,” Hounshel said.

Volunteers helped out with smaller projects that saw other buildings received a coat of paint, Schafstall said.

Along with the new roofs and painting, Schafstall said there was quite a large amount of work that needed to be done to some of the joints between rafters and beams in the buildings where the roofs were replaced.

The board already has begun looking past this year’s fair, which also will feature activities to highlight the county’s 200th birthday.

“Our hope for next year is to build a new goat barn,” Schafstall said. “It has some of the same issues as the others as far as needing new beams and such. It was the first livestock building. We already have bids on it. I’m hoping to get it started right after the fair.”

The most recent major project at the fairgrounds occurred in 2014 when an old restroom building was torn down and replaced with new, modern bathrooms.

Schafstall said there is a committee that looks at potential projects and has been putting together a schedule so something can be done each year.

“We’re trying to do it a little at a time,” he said.

The Jackson County Pork Producers also was able to help fund a project through donations to lay new concrete in the area where hogs are held during shows in the show arena.