More Than a Fair
Winneshiek County Community Foundation
December 1, 2016
As the “the biggest little fair in Iowa,” the Winneshiek County Fair draws people to Winneshiek County, both near and far.
“We figure we have between seven and eight thousand people pass through each day of the fair,” said Edna Schrandt, business manager of the Winneshiek County Agricultural Association, the nonprofit charged with taking care of the fairgrounds.
This is a big responsibility for the association of over 550 members who pay dues that go toward upkeep of the fairgrounds. The task becomes even more daunting when you add the additional services the group provides for Winneshiek County residents including encouraging and promoting agricultural activities for youth and community, and holding other agricultural expositions and fairs on the grounds they are responsible for maintaining.
The high capacity of the fair and the year-round use of the fairgrounds by other organizations means that up-keep of the facilities are essential. However, the dues paid by the association members are not enough to provide quality care to the fairgrounds.
Schrandt, who is in her 26th year of involvement with the Winneshiek County Fair as a member of the Agricultural Association, sees first-hand the difference community support, from groups like the Winneshiek County Community Foundation, makes.
“The Community Foundation has been hand in hand with the Winneshiek County Fairgrounds. We wouldn’t have what you see without them,” said Schrandt. “They have done a lot of good for our fairgrounds and are such nice people to work with too.”
Since 2006, the Winneshiek County Agricultural Association has received over $27,000 in grants from the Winneshiek County Community Foundation to improve the functionality of the facilities. The Association’s most recent grants have supported the installation of hand dryers to create an earth friendly environment and improved handicapped parking to create an environment that is welcoming for all attendees.
For Schrandt, a fairgrounds fixture, her motivation is to be part of raising up youth to be future leaders of her community.
“This will be my 50th year as a 4-H volunteer. When I was a young girl in 4-H, there were adults that took care of and did things so I always feel like I have to give back,” said Schrandt. “That’s why I keep hanging around and doing what I do.”
Taking care of things for the future of a community and giving back to something you love. These are shared values that build stronger communities.