After a difficult decision-making process, the Key Peninsula Fair Board elected John Biggs, current vice president of the Longbranch Improvement Club, as the new fair board president Jan. 15, thus sealing the fate of the fair for 2009. Biggs made it clear that if elected, he would take a year off to give the fair an overhaul.
“The best thing to do for the fair is to take it down—all the way down,” Biggs said. “If I’m going to be president, it is if you folks decide not to go forward with a 2009 fair. I’m not interested in dragging this thing down the road.”
Tom Boardman, currently vice president of the fair, said he would “like to build a simple fair for this year—a one- to two-day event so we don’t have to deal with so many volunteer hours.” Boardman also recommended moving the date of the fair to August, closer to the harvest season, and eliminating the carnival.
Biggs also recommended possibly working more closely with the school district to build up enthusiasm with the kids and moving the fair to October.
After opening remarks, the candidates stepped out of the room for an open discussion period. Sensing that the choice was less about the candidates themselves, and more about the future of the fair, the discussion focused on whether the fair would suffer by taking a year off, and whether or not a one-day event would be viable.
Phil Bauer, representing Key Peninsula Civic Center, led off the discussion.
“I don’t think the fair works. It is extremely labor intensive,” Bauer said. “If you’re an adult, there’s nothing for you to do. I keep thinking about the Oysterfest in Shelton. They have a wine garden, microbreweries, great food centered on theme and really good entertainment. If we take a year off—who cares? I’m not afraid we’re going to lose something—what are we going to lose?”
Stu Stuhaug, president of the LIC agreed. “Even the Davis people [who run the carnival] said we talk about having a fair for the kids, but all the entertainment is for people with gray hair and no hair. The fair is somewhat schizophrenic.”
Joe Barrows, also representing the LIC, agreed.
“It needs to be looked at from the grass roots up,” Barrows said. “If I had my choice, let’s have an all out, maximum planning effort in 2009, and come back reenergized and huge in 2010.”
The length of the fair was also a sticking point for some. Jud Morris, representing the Key Peninsula Business Association, and Ed Taylor, representing the civic center, both felt having a one-day fair would be a mistake based on past events and the amount of energy it takes to set it up the fair. Others, such as Stuhaug, felt the three-day event was a hardship for vendors in terms of cost and time.
Biggs said he is ready to take the throttle and move the fair forward for 2010.
“I recognize this is a divisive issue. We need to get after this and not just put it aside,” Biggs said. “I want to get on this right away. I don’t see any reason why we can’t be exploring options so we can get some general direction as soon as possible.”
At the Key Peninsula Business Association meeting the following day, Biggs announced the fair board decision. Biggs told the association that he hopes Boardman will continue as vice president and especially wants Boardman to mange the fair. “Tom Boardman is the ideal guy to run the Fair. I will propose to make Tom the fair board manager. As far as running the fair, I think he is the man to do it,” Biggs said.
If anyone is interested in participating in the planning process for 2010, the next meeting is tentatively set for Feb. 11 at 6:30 p.m. in the VFW Room at Key Peninsula Civic Center.