Marcus Fair 2009

Thursday, August 6, 2009
Nancy Hohbach

The upcoming Marcus Community Fair will mark its 73rd year. The Fair Board is pleased to note that it also is the 25th year they have had a FREE gate. When it was started, many were skeptical that it would work, but the fair has flourished under a free gate with many improvements made to the grounds. The improvements are made possible through fundraising events, county and state funding, grants and by generous local supporters. The Hall of Progress was built in the early eighties with many of the fair activities over the years held there. It wasn't long after it was first used that a permanent stage was built through volunteer labor. They worked to improve the sound quality through adding acoustic panels. This year volunteers have added fans for comfort and improved the lighting The second major building erected on the fair grounds was Centennial Hall. Volunteers built that over a former cement tennis court back in the mid-nineties. Windows were added last year and improved lighting along with fans to improve air quality. This year the volunteers insulated the ceiling to lower the building's temperature. Last year they built a new livestock show arena. A roof was put on and saw dust is used across the floor. This year they added some siding and wired it for lights. To make the arena a safer place, they lined the arena with livestock panels for ease and safety of showing their livestock. The board also added outlets and updated wiring where needed. This included the old livestock barn plus each year, they continually add cement flooring in the barn. This was the year for the Mount Pleasant Church (which is situated on the west area of the fair ground) to be completed. The board had already installed new bathrooms in the basement. This year was the time to finish the basement walls and flooring plus complete the kitchen. Volunteers sheet-rocked the walls and painted them. The flooring was undertaken by local Marcus women. The flooring is practical and yet adds some beauty to the building, They rolled on blue/gray paint while adding color sprinkles to the floor giving it color, shine and some texture. It reminds one of terrazzo or epoxy floors. It really is a nice touch. The kitchen was furnished at a reasonable cost. When the board went looking for cupboards, they received a lucky break. One of the board members noted an ad in the paper that mentioned Habitat for Humanity had some cupboards to sell. They had oak cupboards built for a specific blueprint but their plans changed. When a committee took a look at them, they couldn't believe how nice they were. With a little negotiations, the cupboards were theirs. The board needed a safe way to get them back to Marcus. That problem was cured with Marcus Lumber volunteering their new enclosed truck to drive down to get them. A private party donated appliances for the kitchen along with a sink. Someone else donated some countertop and they will purchase the rest. The board was thrilled as it came together through donations of all kinds. It looks just great. Carpet was also donated to cover most of the steps. One individual in particular needs a pat on the back. That is Ray Addy, a carpenter by trade. Paul Wilkens, president of the board, noted he gave much to the projects "in-kind". He spent many hours working to get many of these projects done. Wilkens went on to say, "Cooperation between the board members is how it all gets done. We recognize that each of us bring special skills to the board and we try to match the task to fit one's skills. It is definitely a team effort. That's what's great about living in a small town. You work together to get it all done and we take pride in doing it well. We put out best foot forward." The same is true for local businesses. Just as Marcus Lumber hauled for nothing to benefit the fair so others donated to the fair. MidAmerican Energy always works with the board in moving poles and lines when asked. The board saw to it more outlets were added this year to make life easier for Smith Amusements as they arrive prior to the fair to set up. They take that time to go over their equipment and purchase tires and other needed repairs while they wait for the fair to begin. The carnival has been good for the Marcus economy. Many businesses donate prizes to be awarded during the fair which is so appreciated by fair attendees. Wilkens also mentioned that the board is going to make sure that there are plenty of health stations to wash one's hands. Whether one is working with livestock or something else, frequent washing of hands will be encouraged. The board is pleased to earn a grant from the Legacy Foundation. Last year they received $5,000 which was used for the bathrooms in the church and this year, they used $7,000 for electrical wiring and fans in the Hall of Progress as well as the show arena. The Marcus Community Fair provides a significant economic impact on the community and in the State of Iowa. The fair is ran by a 18 member board who works all year round to find, promote and schedule activities. They spend much time in maintaining the fair grounds. The board is divided into committees and helps with numerous tasks during the fair. It is this kind of support that makes the fair what it is today. The Marcus Community Fair officers are President Paul Wilkens, Vice President David Whited, Secretary Jeff Kollbaum and Treasurer Gwen Peters. Other members of the board are Sharon Rupp, LaRae Wendt, Ray Addy, Steve Kunzweiler, Clay Leavitt, Rod Ogren, Kyle Tapper, Ric Collins, Bruce Rainboth, Bart Alesch, Kirk Alesch, Sheila Guntren, Kristi Mason, Jacil Schreier, Kristy Mason and lifetime member Milo Miller. This group works year round to ensure everyone has a good time at the Marcus Fair.