POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Fair will have some new features to the grounds this year.
Mason County Fair Board President Shawn Paugh has been collaborating with Stephen Littlepage, president of the Robert and Louise Claflin Foundation, on grants for multiple projects at the fairgrounds.
The largest project for this fair season will be the installation of a 24X24 shower house in the campground behind the fairground’s main stage. It will have three showers for men, three showers for women, a restroom, and a sink for the campers. Paugh explained the only shower house on the grounds currently is the one located by the livestock arena. This is the second time Paugh has applied for a grant for the shower house. Many people have been asking for this addition and will be pleased with the fact a new shower house will be on the grounds and ready for operation for the fair this year as construction will be starting this week. This project is being fully funded by a Claflin Foundation grant worth $18,000.
Another project in the works is the installation of a “cool room” in the arts building. The “cool room” will be located in the photography/graphic arts area and will have air conditioning and tables and chairs for patrons to sit down and relax. Also, board members are looking to put a charging station in the area as well. The building will have three new doors and garage doors. The building will be wheelchair accessible and will be marked as a “cool room” with a sign outside the building. Paugh is looking to have this project complete by May 17, so the final fair bingo before the Fair Bash on May 18 can be held in there. The plan is to be able to hold bingo nights at this building during the off season as late into the fall as October or November and as early in the spring as April. The total cost of this project is being covered by a Claflin grant worth $4,000. Within in the last year, Paugh and fellow board members started thinking about adding in a cool room as the past few years at the fair very warm days occurred. Treasurer Nikki Hunt approached Paugh about the issue and helped him with writing the grant.
The poultry barn will also be getting some work done this year with a Claflin grant worth $2,800. The fair board will be purchasing 24 new poultry pens, which will be sectioned off into eight sections of three and stacked on top of one another. Paugh commented the rabbit and poultry exhibitors have increased within the past few years which is why there was a need to increase the amount of pens and there was room for the additional pens as well.
Fair board members have been applying for grants through the Claflin Foundation for about four years now. The first major project was the upgrade to the fairground’s main stage, which was funded 80-85 percent by the Claflin Foundation. Prior to that project, a grant was written for new display tables for the home arts building in the latter part of 2014 and other projects included a supplemental grant for an additional upgrade of the fairground’s main stage and the renovation of the bleachers for the pull track/motocross events last year.
Littlepage commented in these years the Claflin Foundation has provided approximately $75,000 worth of grant monies towards the Mason County Fair. He explained Robert and Louise Claflin were always passionate about helping the youth and with many youth involved with the fair, they are benefiting from these upgrades and additions.
“The Claflin Foundation is always interested in helping the youth,” said Littlepage. “What better way as far as the county’s reach than the Mason County Fair because it covers the county. We are a county based kind of internal foundation. Anything that we do has to be within Mason County and to actually reach out and help an organization with a county wide reach is right down our road.”
Erin Perkins is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Reach her at (304) 675-1333, extension 1992.