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Loss of Boone County fair could negatively impact economy

The Boone County fair has defined 14 year-old Brooke Schnarre’s childhood for the past six years.

“If it wasn’t here it would just be really boring,” she said. “Part of my life would be taken from me.”

Schnarre trains livestock all year round for the fair and for the past five years she’s been rebuilding an antique tractor to show.

But when there’s downtime before shows, Schnarre said she likes to visit surrounding towns.

“There’s a lot of things to do during the day when you’re not doing anything else because the shows are at night,” she said.

Voters said no to a parks and recreation tax last August that would have provided more money for the county to maintain the grounds and keep the fair.

So while the funding makes the fair’s fate at the Boone County Fairgrounds uncertain, it is a fact the neighboring areas could lose significant business.

“These people travel from all over the United States to hold their events,” said fair board president Jeff Cook. “They shop in our town, they sleep in our town so we mgiht not be making the money to upkeep the facilities, but look what it’s doing for the community.”

Cook said since the cities see an economic advantage, they should help out the county.

“The city benefits off that tax more than the county,” he said. “I always thought the city should be helping out the county to keep this facility open,”

While several smaller towns have offered to take the fair, they might not be able to offer what this area can.

“During the day we have nothing else to do so in a smaller place it’s going to be kind of boring,” said Schnarre.

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