POINT PLEASANT — Live music, rides, games, food and a variety of activities make the annual Mason County Fair a popular event each August.
But it takes more than an entertaining lineup to run the fair.
Funding is also an important issue to make sure the doors to the fair stay open each year. Beverly Forbes, Bash chairman, said this past weekend’s Mason County Fair Spring Prize Bash was a major part of reaching this goal.
“It is the Mason County Fair’s main fundraiser every year that we’ve had it. We don’t get any money to help us in any way because the budget has been cut back so much,” Forbes said. “So this is what we have to make money for repairs and other things for the fair.”
Brian Billings, mayor of Point Pleasant, said budget cuts have included cutting the fair budget, which made this year’s bash all the more important.
“Federal and state dollars have stopped, so we have no other means to obtain money but to do things like this fundraiser and our upcoming flea market,” Billings said. “There’s not a set dollar amount, but any money we make will be a plus for this fair, because there’s just not money out there to help us.”
Billings also said raising the money for the repairs needed at the fair, in turn, helps the community members who display their hard work at the event.
“We need to upgrade our buildings and facilities, but most importantly we can use the money to make certain our youth in the FFA and 4-H have a great place to bring in their livestock and bring in their exhibits to show the world what they’ve been doing for the past year,” Billings said.
The Fair Bash ran from noon to 6 p.m. this past Saturday, with a pre-Bash concert featuring “Open Rail” and “The Riveside Cloggers” the night before.
The event also included music, food and bouncy-houses for the kids. Second vice president of the Mason County Fair Board, R.F. Stein, said the event is amusement for the entire family.
“It has allowed us to keep the doors to the fair open for the past couple years, and it is a good community and family-based type of entertainment,” Stein said.
Robert Board, a bash-goer, says he enjoys spending the day at the bash.
“It gives me something to do for the day and a chance to win a prize,” Board says. “I also enjoy getting to visit with the people.”
A professional cornhole tournament was also part of the event including the tri-county’s own pro group, The Cult of Cornhole. Dale Shobe, Cult of Cornhole member, said professional teams in the American Cornhole Organization from about 14 different states came to the bash for the tournament.
“Everybody that buys a Fair Bash ticket can play in the tournament. We’ve got locals and professionals. The professionals drove in from everywhere, such as Alabama, South Carolina, Georgia, Ohio, Maryland and several others,” Shobe said. “I do it to help the fair bash out because I’m a local and we just like to play cornhole. Anywhere we can find a tournament, we travel.”
During the six-hour event, prize drawings took place every five minutes, giving ticket holders a chance to win anything from cash and gift certificates to electronics and guns, including the grand prize of a 2014 Polaris Ranger XP or $10,000 won by Tanya Handley, of Point Pleasant.