Cedar County Fair Battles Flood Damage Over Fair Weekend

by Will Bauer, NET News

July 23, 2019, 4:42 p.m.

July and early August is county fair season. A number of fairgrounds across Nebraska, though, were damaged during record flooding this spring.

The Cedar County Fairgrounds in Hartington, Nebraska, sustained a lot of damage in March, losing a livestock building and many gravel roads, according to fair organizers.

The Cedar County fair finished over the weekend, but Jackie Steffen, Cedar County extension educator, said it took a lot of community help to get the fairgrounds ready. A contractor built a temporary livestock building, which was put in last week, just before livestock arrived. Steffen said the community had to act quickly.

“I think that many spectators who came down to the fairgrounds were very surprised if they hadn’t been down there, to see how well the fairgrounds looked and how we were able to do business somewhat as usual and have another great Cedar County Fair,” Steffen said.

Greg Heine, Cedar County Fair Board president, estimates the damages at $200,000. Between 12 to16 truckloads of gravel were brought in to fix the roads. Heine and Steffen said there were many cosmetic damages, such as replacing the bottom portion of drywall in many buildings.

Heine and Steffen said the community is fundraising to help with costs and they will also pursue help from FEMA and money from Cedar County. Organizers hope the construction of the new livestock building will be complete for the 2020 fair.