POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Fair will return this year with an overhauled main stage.
Construction was recently completed on the structure with major help from a $13,204.30 grant from the Robert and Louise Claflin Foundation.
Construction on the new stage began back in February. At that time, Fair President Shawn Paugh told the Point Pleasant Register the new stage was funded thanks to the Clafin grant as well as significant donations from Peoples Bank and M & G Polymers.
Paugh, who helped oversee the construction, said the new stage would be the same dimension as the old one, though slightly wider in the front and square. The old stage’s floor was ripped out and concrete poured for the new floor. Using concrete ensures a sound structure which will hopefully be there for many fairs to come. This new, sturdy stage is also capable of handling more and more equipment trucked in from the major acts the fair attracts. The stage is now capable of growing with the demands of today’s top entertainers and will continue to be a focal point for the queen pageant, gospel sing and Little Mister and Little Miss Mason County contests.
“I’ve been waiting to replace that stage for 15 years or more and finally we were able to obtain money to do so through the Claflin foundation, as well as money from Peoples Bank and M & G, and we’re very thankful to them,” Brian Billings, fair first vice president and fair entertainment chairman said.
Billings said only the roof and back of the stage are the same and double the outlets were installed, again to update the stage for today’s entertainment and the needs of the fair.
Stephen Littlepage is the administrator of the foundation and said this project fit perfectly with the Claflin Foundation’s mission of impacting people across Mason County. He said it came about after Teddy Thomas, the fair’s secretary, applied for money to replace display tables for exhibitors and was awarded that grant. This led to applying for stage funds.
“This was the foundation’s first major project with the fair, and it resonated with myself and the (Claflin Foundation) board members as something beneficial to the entire community,” Littlepage said, explaining people from across the county attend and exhibit at the fair, meaning the project was far reaching.
“It (the stage project), really hit a lot of birds with one stone,” Littlepage said.
The former stage was built entirely out of wood and time and weather have taken a toll. The new stage, build primarily with concrete and block, will be a lasting addition to the fair, Littlepage said. He added, leaving a “lasting” footprint on Mason County is one of the main goals of the foundation.
“We’re thrilled to death with the way this turned out,” Littlepage said.
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