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Crew tops off shelter, backs up grandstand

A new fence has been installed to enclose the area underneath the grandstand on the Pierce County Fairgrounds.1 / 2
Groundskeeper Kenny Hines and his crew of temporary summer workers put a new metal roof on the shelter at the Pierce County Fairgrounds.2 / 2

Whether their vantage point is from up above or down below, attendees at the Pierce County Fair, Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 12-15, will be within view of fairgrounds improvements.

At least three projects to upgrade the grounds have been accomplished by his work crew this spring and summer, Groundskeeper Kenny Hines said. They involve the shelter, the grandstand and the west parking lot.

A new metal roof was installed on the shelter, Hines said. He estimated work had last been done to the roof on the 40-by-100 foot structure when he began in the grounds keeping job, around 14 or 15 years ago.

"It was close to leaking," he said of its recent condition.

Replacing the former shingles with the metal covering took most of a day in mid-June, Hines said. This year's crew of temporary summer workers, who handled the installation, included: Nathan Brenner, Jennifer Fuchs, Parker Hines, Connor Johnson, Morgan Place, Luke Ristow and Kayla Winger.

The grandstand, which has been entirely replaced in recent years with the largest section (the middle) done last year, now has a new fence backing it, the groundskeeper said. The metal fence extends for 130 feet behind the middle section, plus covers four 40-foot adjacent portions.

"The fence will prevent people from going underneath the grandstand," he said.

Two service doors have been built into the middle part for access by fairgrounds personnel, however, he said. The fence installation was completed over two weeks, although it could have been done in a week-to-10-days, had there not been so much rain late this spring, he added.

The west parking lot is the site for new lighting and an expanded sound system, Hines said. Five 14-foot poles were to be set into concrete throughout the lot to support lights and speakers. The mercury vapor lights come on automatically at dusk and go out with the return of daylight.

Main materials for the three projects are from The Builder's Choice (Fullerton Lumber) of Ellsworth, he said. The metal for the shelter roof and grandstand fence as well as the poles for the lot lighting were all purchased there.

"The Builder's Choice price quote was lower than the others we got," he said.

The grandstand replacement had been a several-year effort, with the main section finished last year and the side sections replaced earlier. The grandstand now seats between 1,100 and 1,200 people, has space for handicapped access in the front and a press box for announcing purposes midway across the top. The structure is made of galvanized steel and the aluminum alloy seating is enclosed. Southern Bleacher of Texas was awarded the total project: electrical work, demolition, materials and their installation.

Another improvement--this one begun last year and presently in its second phase--is new metal pens replacing wooden pens in the Drewiske Building. The Pierce County Livestock Committee is taking on the cost of 40-to-60 of the metal goat, sheep and swine pens, while the county fair has accepted responsibility for 20 others. The first new pens were introduced last year and those not added this year are expected to be installed next year during the third phase.

The new pens are safer than their predecessors. They're also able to hold more animals to meet increased demand and make more efficient use of space inside the building. Among fundraising events for the project have been a BBQ, silent and live auction, along with an Adopt-a-Pen program. Proceeds from dinners and a meat raffle have been envisioned for the cause, too.

Fair goers will find the shelter just northeast of the west intersection of Fair Circle and Midway Avenue. The grandstand is located southeast of that same intersection on the south side of Fair Circle. The west parking lot is north of Midway Avenue on the west side of Fair Circle and can be accessed from the north entrance. The Drewiske Building is between the north parking lot and east parking lot, and can be accessed from either the north entrance or east entrance.

The locations of other fairgrounds facilities are:

--Arena Building, just south of the Drewiske Building, between the north and east parking lots, and north and east entrances.

--Blue Barn, just southwest of the Arena Building, and northeast of the east intersection of Fair Circle and Machinery Road.

--Commercial Exhibit Area, northwest of the east intersection of Fair Circle and Machinery Road.

--Family Entertainment Tent, just southeast of the west intersection of Fair Circle and Machinery Road.

--First Aid Station, south of Midway Avenue, just west of the Seyforth Building.

--Food Stands, on both the north and south sides of Midway Avenue.

--4-H Food Stand, on the northeast corner of the east intersection of Fair Circle and Midway Avenue.

--Freier School, southwest of the east intersection of Fair Circle and Machinery Road.

--Gazebo, just east of the Family Entertainment Tent, south of Machinery Road.

--Horse Arena, just south of the east entrance.

--Horse Barn, on the southeast corner of the east intersection of Fair Circle and Midway Avenue.

--Midway, along the north and south sides of Midway Avenue, between its west and east intersections with Fair Circle.

--Milk House, just northeast of the east intersection of Fair Circle and Machinery Road.

--Old Car Club, north of Fair Circle and south of the north entrance.

--Open Class Building, just east of the 4-H Food Stand and north of the Horse Barn.

--Restrooms (two locations), south of the commercial exhibit area on the south side of Machinery Road and adjacent to the Milk House.

--Round Barn, on the east side of Fair Circle, between its east intersections with Machinery Road and Midway Avenue.

--Scout Building, just east of the north entrance, northwest of the north parking lot.

--Senior Citizens Area, just east of the Gazebo and south of the Freier School.

--Seyforth Building, on the southwest corner of the east intersection of Fair Circle and Midway Avenue.

--Silver Barn, between the Milk House and Horse Arena, south of the Arena Building and north of the Round Barn.

--Small Animal Building, just south of the Horse Arena and east of the Round Barn.

The Pierce County Fairgrounds is on the east side of N. Maple Street (Hwy. 65) in Ellsworth, just south of Cairns Street and west of Grant Street on the village's northwest side.

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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