The Bartholomew County 4-H Fair could add an extra day of midway rides on the Fourth of July and a fireworks show, under a proposal being considered by the fair board.
The fair normally begins the first Friday of July. This year, that is July 5, meaning the day before would be Independence Day. Larry Fisher, president of the fair board, said the midway rides would already be in place, so it would make sense to open them on the holiday, he said.
“It only does this about every seven years, that it would either fall on or after the Fourth of July,” Fisher said.
The fair board will consider the change at its 7 p.m. meeting Monday at the fairgrounds office, 750 W. County Road 200S. If the board grants approval, the fair also will investigate a fireworks display, Fisher said. The hope would be that food and midway revenues would cover at least the cost of the fireworks, which can run up to $5,000 for a 15-minute show, Fisher said.
He said the last time he could recall holding a fireworks display at the fairgrounds was a little more than 10 years ago.
“We thought this would be a good opportunity to bring that back,” Fisher said. “Really, I don’t think we will be any competition with anybody else. Ceraland has theirs on the Fourth of July, (but) that is on the other side of the county. It seems like everybody likes fireworks but me.”
Fisher said that as a child he nearly set the family’s barn on fire with a Roman candle and has avoided them since.
Among the factors to consider for fireworks would be “what the feasibility would be, what the cost factor would be, if there is any sponsorship out there that anyone would want to participate with,” Fisher said. Also, the board will need to look into insurance costs, he said.
If the board decides to open early, none of the animal exhibits would be in place for the Fourth of July opening, nor would the commercial buildings, Fisher said. The fair would not want to endanger or scare the animals by having them on site during fireworks, Fisher said.
However, the midway and food vendors would be available.
“We get a percentage of what the midway takes in,” Fisher said. “It would help both of us, and that would be the only real revenue. If we could get enough revenue to cover the cost of the fireworks that night, we would be happy. ... If we get any extra (money), that is welcome as well.”
Fisher said the fair would also make the grandstand available for those who would like to watch the fireworks from there, likely on a first-come, first-served basis.
“Come early, stay late. Buy more corn dogs, snow cones. Ride the rides,” Fisher said. “We will probably work with the ride amusement company for a special that night, where it would be an economical way to come out and ride the rides.”
Mark Case, vice president of the fair board, said the midway company already has offered to open a day early. However, with other community fireworks on the Fourth of July, there is a question of how many people would attend a display at the fairgrounds, he said.
“It may be a total bust, but to me it is a no-brainer, actually,” he said.
Case said he believes that the consensus of the fair board will be to approve the extra day and fireworks. If approved, the fair would still end July 14, as scheduled.
Fisher said the fair board also would consider offering free parking on the Fourth of July.