Kara Fladstol reinvigorates the county fairgrounds

By: 
Alexis Barker

NLJ file photo

Kara Fladstol in the recent play, "It's a Wonderful Life," which was presented by the Weston County Arts Council. 

Alexis Barker

NLJ News Editor

 

A “burning desire” to do things right has turned a new job into a Person of the Year nomination for Weston County Fairgrounds manager Kara Fladstol, who has brought life back to the fairgrounds, according to board member Jessica Graham. 

Beginning the job shortly before the 2018 county fair, Fladstol was quickly thrown into the ring and had a lot on her plate. During the off season – between summers and the annual fair — Fladstol made it her mission to revitalize the fairgrounds and bring people from all walks of life back to a venue that is for all to enjoy. 

“The grounds look the best they have in years. Repairs and maintenance are being done daily, and she is always bringing new ideas to the board to help streamline things and get people back to the fairgrounds,” Graham said. “She does a great job keeping the public informed on events and is always willing to work on an individual basis to make each event a success.”

Fladstol said this drive comes from her desire to do every job she does to the best of her ability, although she admitted that she isn’t always right. 

“I see potential in the fairgrounds to be more of a place that people can come to have events or have fun,” Fladstol said. “These facilities are for everyone in the county, and people in the county deserve to have a useable facility.” 

Besides “slapping a new coat of paint on everything,” Fladstol has worked diligently to bring a new sound system to the grounds, upgrades to several buildings, improved wash racks, new events to the annual fair and most recently the funds to revamp the concession stand to make it more user friendly. 

Improving the existing facility is one thing Newcastle Area Chamber of Commerce Director Andy McKay said he appreciates so much about Fladstol.

“It is not just her willingness to do new things but to take what is already there and revamp, improve, renovate or bring it back to life,” McKay said. “She is redoing the concession stands to hopefully bring another aspect of the fairgrounds back to life, and she is planning on redoing the open class building to make it more user friendly.” 

He noted that Fladstol’s “enthusiasm and persistence” has brought not only him to the fairgrounds more but also members of the community and other businesses. 

“It is inspiring seeing how active she has been at the fairgrounds,” McKay said. “I’m not a fairgrounds type of person. I don’t do horses, automotive or other fairgrounds-type things, but I have been there just because of her enthusiasm and persistence.” 

It is not only the “burning desire” to do every job well that has motivated Fladstol to take the bull by the horns when it comes to managing the fairgrounds. She said that a passion for the fairgrounds and what they represent also drive her to make the grounds relevant again. She said that the agriculture community has a need to show those who aren’t involved in that lifestyle how they are connected and to educate them. The fairgrounds is the perfect venue for doing that, she said. 

“It is really important for people to see the ideas and concepts of old-school county fair. But that doesn’t have the draw like it used to, so you have to re-imagine and re-categorize things for the people who live in town and don’t know that much about ag stuff,” Fladstol said. “You have to show them how they can get involved and the important traditions we have in this part of the world, especially Wyoming.” 

All of Fladstol’s accomplishments the past year, she said, wouldn’t have been possible without the community that has supported her every day. 

“There are the Friends of the Fair, the Junior Livestock Board, the Weston County Fairgrounds board and, of course, the community. Everyone has been so supportive,” Fladstol said, noting that even businesses such as 21 Electric have donated time and equipment to help with projects at the grounds. 

“They sent an operator and the equipment to dig a trench. Things like that make it possible to do what we do out here with the budget that we have. They have been great. and I appreciate it all,” Fladstol said. “I have had the support of the community, and that is what has allowed me to be successful. That is the reason why. I have amazing volunteers who have been doing this longer than me and have way more knowledge. They are here to explain things and let me ask questions.”

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