Six county fairs in the region will each receive $96K to improve facilities and promote agriculture
CANANDAIGUA — The Ontario County Fair next summer may sport a brand-new building to promote local agriculture at the fairgrounds on County Road 10 thanks to state funds.
Ontario County's is one 52 fairs statewide sharing a combined $5 million that will be divided equally. State Sen. Pam Helming, R-Canandaigua, announced that six fairs in the Wayne-Finger Lakes region will each receive $96,153: Cayuga County Fair; Monroe County Fair; Ontario County Fair; Seneca County Fair; Wayne County Fair; and the Trumansburg Fair in Tompkins County.
“The state put a fair amount of funds into the state fair, and it was lobbied that county fairs could use some help, too,” said Casey Kunes, president of the Ontario County Fair's Board of Directors.
“We really appreciate that,” added Kunes, a partner at Hemdale Farms in Seneca Castle.
Plans for the new building stem from growth over the past few years with the fair beefing up programs and events. “Now we have to move displays in and out of buildings,” said Kunes. Having a new building will provide a permanent space for the growing number of offerings, he said.
Plans call for a 5,000-square-foot building with large exhibit space, a room for small gatherings and overhead doors to provide a pavilion-type atmosphere, Kunes said. The building will be close enough to the road to provide “curb appeal,” he added. Plans are now in the permit stage for town and state approvals. The hope is to receive those approvals by the end of the year so the building could be ready for next year’s fair, Kunes said.
Helming said the fair funds come through the 2017 Agricultural Fairgrounds Infrastructure Improvement Program approved as part of this year’s state budget.
“With agriculture being the No. 1 industry in the Wayne-Finger Lakes region, our county fairs showcase the best in agriculture and livestock and raise awareness and education of this important industry,” stated Helming in a release. “These events also foster a sense of community spirit and provide terrific family fun and entertainment for people of all ages. I’m glad that all of the county fairs in my district received this important funding, and I invite everyone to stop by your county fair in 2018 to check out the new and exciting changes.”
Helming stated that to receive the funding, “fairs must submit the scope of work and estimated budget for the specific project to the New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets, which administers the program.”