Sioux Falls, SD
When the Sioux Empire Fair kicks off next Tuesday, the event will be under the third different manager in the past four years.
In 2009, Matt Adamski resigned amidst an embezzlement scandal. Tryg Fredrickson then took over, hoping to get the fair back on a solid financial foundation. But earlier this summer, Fredrickson announced he'd accepted another job. That left the fair board looking to this year's fair and for a new leader.
Rides are being set up and in just a few days they'll be in motion for the 72nd annual Sioux Empire Fair. And when the event goes in motion, there's new management in control.
"Rather than start searching for a new fair manager before the fair I volunteered myself and "voluntold" my husband that he was going to do this with me. So this is where we're at. We're volunteered to the end of the year," Jo Beal said.
Jo Beal says that means it’s been a whirlwind of activity at the fairgrounds lately, including numerous 12 to fifteen hour days. But she's hopeful that work will pay off.
The age of some of the barns had started to show in recent years so one of the biggest jobs before this years fair was to get them all back to tip-top shape and that has been completed.
"We've really been doing a lot of cleaning up and doing a big overall face lift of it so when people come in they know we care and we rally want to see families out here and its nice and clean and spruced up for all of the families," Beal said.
Trees have been cut, new grass is planted and new coats of paint have also been added to give the grounds a better look. It's a fresh look that Beal hopes will give the fair a fresh start when the gates open next Tuesday.
"It's kind of scary to be honest with you. You wish you had another couple of weeks to prepare but what we get done we get done and we'll go from there," Beal said.
The fair has also changed what fairgoers pay this year. On Tuesday through Friday, the admission is free until one in the afternoon. Then, adults are six dollars with ages six through twelve costing one dollar and five and younger are free.