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Heine family is surprised at separate Fair events

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HARTINGTON — Father and son duo Allen and Greg Heine have dedicated a lot of time to the Cedar County Fair over the years.

Both men were surprised at last week’s Fair with special honors for their efforts. During the Fair’s opening night, Greg

During the Fair’s opening night, Greg Heine presented his dad with a plaque commemorating his 30-plus years of service to the Board.

Allen, in turn, surprised his son over the weekend, announcing that Greg had been selected to be a Grand Marshall at this year’s State Fair. Allen had received the same honor seven years ago.

Allen Heine joined the Fair Board back in the 1970s when his kids were active in 4-H.

Since he has been on the board for so long he has seen a lot of changes including flood damage and new buildings put up.

“Flooding is probably the worst situation the fairgrounds could have,” said Heine. He accounted for several different floods and how bad they were. “One year, water got into this building

“One year, water got into this building (Fair Office) and it was so smeary there was a slime; you could barely stand,” said Allen, “Another was a week or so before the fair and it was a real scramble to get things back in shape.”

One flood, according to Heine, had so much pressure from the water and corn stalks that they were picked up and pushed into an overhead door of one of the fair buildings. His son had his pickup parked in this building and the flood deposited so much mud and cornstalks that it was up to the pickup’s running board.

A recent one, that affected not only the fairgrounds but the whole state of Nebraska, happened two years ago.

“This last one, one of the fair board members went out with a kayak and went from building to building to inspect the damage,” said Heine.

Since flood damage has been such a problem in the past the fair board is building all of the new buildings on a higher elevation so it doesn’t affect them as much.

The fairgrounds have changed a lot since when it was first around. The Cedar County Fair Board has put up several new buildings and areas this year and last year including a new showing arena.

“We have put up a lot of buildings since I have been on the fair board, not to my credit,” Allen said.

Allen actually first started right before they put up the old show arena and then they put up the Open Class building.

“With that (Open Class building), we had a hearing which wasn’t so pleasant but it did pass,” said Heine.

Having many buildings and a good amount of land, it is important to the Fair Board that the image of the grounds is really nice, he said.

“In May we have several work (clean-up) nights and the last week of June has almost a daily work night,” Heine.

Fair Board members will go to different fairs to see what they are doing and try to bring back ideas to improve Cedar’s fairgrounds.

All of the buildings, except the livestock show arena now have air conditioning mainly due to the fact the Cedar County Fair is in the middle of July.

“Normally we have hot days (for the fair). We are locked into these days because neighboring Fair Boards don’t want fairs stacked on top of each other,” he said, ”We have to also lock in a carnival you can keep.”

In years past, the Cedar County Fair didn’t always have a carnival. It is difficult for any fair to keep a carnival or find a new one if the ladder goes out of business.

“It makes it more of a dead fair,” said Heine, “Everyone expects a Farris wheel at any fair. I think we are good now but it happens to a lot of fairs where the carnival goes bankrupt and then you’re in trouble.”

This year, the Cedar County Fair had one of their main artists, Gabby Barrett, cancel due to pneumonia.

“We are really lucky; Greg (Heine) had a lot of contacts with the entertainment industry. He was lucky enough to find that Lane might be available and snag him,” said Allen.

He said that it helps when every cog in the wheel is clicking in the wheel.

“We have a really nice fair board team and it’s like we are all extended family. The fair runs a lot smoother with a team that works well together,” said Heine.

Allen Heine said he enjoys the fair and every aspect that goes into planning it.

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