The new exhibit hall at the Jackson County Junior Fairgrounds was a hit with fair-goers this year.
The former exhibit hall was the oldest building on the grounds, said Theresa Bailey, the WVU Extension Office 4-H program assistant for Jackson County. Every time it rained, Bailey said, exhibits would get wet because of the leaky roof.
“Several years ago, about three years ago, in 2016, we started trying to raise money for a new building. We had talked about it for a few years before that,” Bailey said.
Bailey said many individuals and organizations contributed to funding and constructing the building. Revenue from the annual pie auction conducted by the CEOs and from other sources raised thousands of dollars for the project, and volunteers such as Meadows Well Service, owned by Butch and Zelma Meadows, were instrumental in the construction process, which started last fall.
The project also had the support of the Jackson County Commission, which is made of up of president Dick Waybright and commissioners Mike Randolph and Mitch Morrison. Donations also were made to a fund for the building project at the Jackson County Community Foundation.
“When we started out, we had $20,000. At the present time, we have almost $100,000 invested in the building. But there was a lot of donated time – probably over twice that much. Zelma and Butch Meadows, Randy Epling, Francis Bros., the County Commission ... all of these people and others have helped make this possible,” Bailey said.
Though some finishing touches remain, the building was close enough to completion for use during this year’s fair.
“There’s still work to be done – we’ll be doing a little landscaping and finishing the heating and air – so we’re doing several fundraisers here at the fair. When we have our livestock sale, a lot of buyers donate their animal back, and, over the last three years, $20,000 has come back to us from those businesses donating their animal back,” Bailey said.
Waybright said he was pleased with the building.
“This was a much-needed facility. The old one was dilapidated. As you can see, the situation is modern and spacious here. We see this building being used for several things throughout the year,” Waybright said.
In addition to having a leaky roof, the old exhibit hall was hot in the summer and in a state of general disrepair. Bailey said the new hall is well-insulated and has modern amenities. It has been well-received by the public, as well as the children who use it, she said.
“It was great to see the kids’ faces all lit up. Everyone working together is what made this possible,” Bailey said.