Same place, different look

ATTICA – When July’s storm destroyed a barn at Attica Independent Fairgrounds, the community came together to ensure animals would have a home during this week’s 137th fair.

The storm forced the building off its foundation, and the fair board’s insurance company condemned it.

Dennis Reer, president of the fair board, said the fair board had to take it down. The storm also took off part of the roof of the horse barn and the roof of the press box at the grandstand, he said.

“We were still fortunate compared to others, though,” he said.

The barn had housed dairy and beef cattle, an auction and show ring, and a stage throughout the past and most recently had housed goats, poultry and rabbits. A tent now stands in its place.

Cleanup occurred about a week and a half after the storm July 10. Reer said several tons of stone were hauled in to level the ground for the tent, and the stone was placed July 23. The tent arrived at the fairgrounds July 29.

“(We) started setting pens in it,” he said.

The situation was just another challenge the fair board and community can handle, he said.

Old and young helped with cleanup.

“(It was a) very wide range of age,” he said.

Reer said it was a great showing of help, consideration and concern. He said it was a big concern about how people would get it done, but after living in the community and knowing what can happen, he knew it would get done.

“You just see how (people help),” he said.

The tent, which measures 60 feet by 100 feet, now is set up where the building, which measured 65 feet by 105 feet, used to be.

“We didn’t just throw a tent up,” he said.

When the tent took the place of the building, species were shifted throughout the grounds. Goats and sheep were placed in the tent, and poultry and rabbits were moved into the building that houses the show arena.

“(The sale committee) had to plan and look at things. (We) just swapped buildings, basically,” Reer said.

The destruction of the building could be paving the way for a new one in the future. Reer said a new building is something that will have to be in the works, and officials will have to start on the planning process for one.

“An unfortunate thing turns into a positive thing. We’re not certain at this point how soon (a new building would be up),” he said.

Reer said the community stepped up. The fair would go on no matter what happens, he said.

Reer’s 9-year-old son, Joseph, is another person who is giving back to the fair. He collected about 100 pounds of cans during races and planned to spend the money from the cans at the baked goods auction at the fair.

“He’s willing (to give back),” Reer said.

Joseph said he planned to spend some money on baked goods and football cards and save some for a truck and his brother.

“This year, I have it in my wallet,” he said.