Looking for volunteers

Walter Sprague

Walter Sprague

Art and Culture Reporter


With the COVID pandemic causing uncertainty in many areas of life, the status of the Weston County Fair had been unclear. But the fair board has now decided that the fair will be taking place this year from July 24 to Aug. 2. The theme is “Boots, Jeans, and Weston County Dreams.”

Although there are still many unknowns, according to fair manager Kara Fladstol, all those details will be ironed out at the next board meeting in early July. However, Fladstol said that the board is working on the variances to have this year’s fair be as normal and fun as humanly possible. The board is committed, she said, to have live youth livestock shows and auctions, as well as the static open exhibits. Live-streaming will also happen for those who feel safer staying away from crowds, and this will include phone-in and online bidding for livestock sales.

A few events won’t take place this year, such as pig wrestling. Once the pressures of social distancing are lessened and the board has a better grasp on how to handle the crowds in the confined space, they may be able to bring back pig wrestling and other events that pose too significant a problem under the current guidelines, Fladstol said.

Another unavoidable change is that there will be no fair book this year, due to the delays caused by the uncertainties related to the pandemic. Instead, it will be available online. 

One thing that has not changed this year is the need for volunteers, which has increased for a couple of reasons, Fladstol said. From March 15 to the end of May, all events were canceled. The lack of events has cost the fairgrounds about $11,000 in revenue it would otherwise have had. As such, some staff have had hours cut or their positions eliminated. While the board hopes to have those paid positions again in the future, Fladstol said, it became untenable to have full staff this year.

The other reason is also a direct result of the pandemic. Many cuts and changes have taken place at the Wyoming Honor Conservation Camp and Boot Camp. The inmates at the camp are not working on community projects, so the fairground has lost that workforce, Fladstol said. 

“They have been something we appreciate, and it has been a boon to other organizations, as well as the fairgrounds,” Fladstol said, “And then COVID hits. And now, no one has that extra help we’ve had in the past.”

The lockdown at the honor camp has raised the need for extra help from the community. Fladstol is asking for people to volunteer their time wherever and whenever they can.

“We need help with weeding and mowing,” she said, “It is especially important to whack the grass and weeds down surrounding the fairgrounds to get rid of snakes. However, if anyone is under the age of 18, they need to bring their own equipment.”

Other areas where volunteers will be needed are setting up and tearing down for the open static exhibits and the live animal shows, emptying trash cans and picking up litter. Superintendents are also needed for the static exhibits to just watch to make sure that artwork, plants, and quilts aren’t damaged.

People who are computer literate is a particular need. 

“We need people who can input entries in each of our exhibits and animal shows,” Fladstol said, “It’s important that we enter in results and handle the sales of animals, as well as other secretarial duties.”

The 4-H clubs are always heavily involved in the fair, and this year the need for help with 4-H events is great. Brittany Hamilton, 4-H Extension Educator, said that help is needed to set up the trail for the horse show, for superintendents to open gates, or to make sure kids get where they need to be with their animals. Judges are also needed. The week before fair begins, from July 20 through 24, help in the barn, setting up the junior livestock shows – and tearing down after fair – would be appreciated, she said. 

“Anything people can do will be a great help,” Hamilton said. “We need bodies that can pick up stuff and pack it away.”

Both Hamilton and Fladstol say they are grateful for any help they get – and that they appreciate the community’s past commitment to the fair. Anyone wishing to reach out and help the fair be a success can call  Fladstol at (307) 746-8806 or Hamilton at (307) 746-3531. 


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