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Fairgrounds Rebirth

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HARTINGTON — Disaster struck the Cedar County Fairgrounds March 13.

On that day flood waters inundated the facility damaging several buildings and completely destroying a livestock barn.

Now, thanks to the dedication of area residents, local 4-H members and even a 4-H group from Pennsylvania, things are looking up. Cedar County Ag Society members decided to turn their misfortune into an opportunity. The Ag Society is planning to construct a new building that will solve several of their needs, not just replace an old barn.

The new building will be a new larger show arena that will connect with the beef and dairy barns. The current show arena will then be used for livestock stalls, said Ag Society President Greg Heine.

Heine said the hope is to have the new facility operational for the 2020 Cedar County Fair. The Ag Society doesn’t have any firm estimates on the cost of such a facility, Heine said, but he is hoping the entire project can be done for $150,000 or less.

Cedar County 4-H Clubs hosted a Fairgrounds Fundraiser Friday night.

Over 250 people went through the food line on the night. The evening also featured yard games, a movie and a teen dance.

Heine said it was a great event, and raised, some much-needed funds for the fairgounds.

“The support has been unbelievable. All the volunteers, it’s been just great. A Pennslyvania 4H Club heard about this and they are doing a fundraiser, too,” Heine said. Prior to Friday’s event, the Ag Society had already picked up $9,500 in donations from several area businesses, including $2,500 from Cedar Security Bank; $2,000 from Farm Bureau; $2,000 from Farm Credit Services; $1,000 from U.S. Cellular, and $1,000 from the Laurel Bit and Bridle 4-H Club.

Heine said the Ag Society is also planning a brick fundraiser to help raise funds for the new structure.

The money will go toward the new livestock facility.

The livestock building was just part of the damage at the fairgrounds. Several buildings also needed repairs. The interior of the Ag Society office had major damage, meaning drywall had to be pulled out and replaced. Not all of the built up debris from the flood has yet been removed from the buildings. Several fence lines are also still debris-filled.

“We are abut 50 percent of the way there. We’ve still got a lot of work to do,” Heine said.