In their regular Wednesday morning meeting, the Boone County Supervisors unanimously voted that the sale of liquor will not be tolerated during the Boone County Fair.
With nearly 50 spectators, the board met with Boone County Fair Board President Kris Kline and Fair Board Manager Ashley Fitzgerald. In spite of a previously issued position statement against the sale of beer during the annual Boone County Fair by the Supervisors, the Fair Board was on the agenda this morning to ask for consent. At a previous meeting, the Fair Board gave a Power Point presentation on how the sale of beer during the Fair would be executed.
In past years, the Supervisors have given their approval for liquor sales on the Fairgrounds for other events, but has excluded the actual Boone County Fair event from that approval. With the current vote, that continues to be the case. According to Supervisor Steve Duffy, he will “do everything to carry out the will of the people,” and he has received great response urging no beer during the fair
In addition to refusing the sale of liquor during the Boone County Fair, the supervisors indicated intentions to review the lease between the Supervisors and the Fair Board. The current lease is from 1993, and allows the Fair Board to have the grounds at a rate of $1 per year. Kline pointed out that there is a clause in the lease requiring 30 day written notice before changes in the lease can be made.
Fitzgerald pointed out that this request is “a dollars and cents thing.” The Fair Board is looking for ways to fund the on-going expenses of the fairgrounds. Other counties charge for fair admission, stall rent for the 4-Hers showing their animals; Boone County does not want to have to do that. Attendance at the paid events continues to drop and the Fair Board is searching for ways to make ends meet. In addition, costs to bring in traditional events continue to climb. For example, the carnival would be pure expense at $25,000 for the run of the fair.
Issues brought up during the public comment portion included concern about liability lawsuits that could include not only the Fair Board, but the Supervisors as well; additional costs of serving liquor out-weighing financial gain; neighboring property owner concerns about drunken behavior in their backyards; and promoting drinking as an acceptable behavior.
Kline was asked by Supervisor Chair Tom Foster what it would take for the Fair Board to reconsider their request. Kline put forth that because this was a Fair Board decision, the Fair Board would have to meet again before any changes in the request could take place. When pressed by Tom Matt in the gallery, Kline did state that he would recommend to the Fair Board that they rescind their request.
Fair Board member Steve Duncan was also in the gallery. He says that the Fair Board members are the “caretakers of your land.” Duncan thanked the Supervisors for their past support, and also thanked the public for their support.