Fair, fireworks work better together

Fair, fireworks work better together

The Issue: Two important events faced calendar conflicts.

Our View: A cooperative effort works to make both events better for patrons, vendors and organizers.

CARLINVILLE (June 28, 2018) – The first version of the Macoupin County Fair was held on Carlinville’s square 166 years ago. In 1852, the Agricultural, Horticultural and Mechanical Association of Macoupin County held an exhibition consisting of some of the county’s best livestock.

While the “fair” was held in a variety of locations for the next few years, in 1860  it found a permanent location on a 22-acre plot north of Carlinville. Despite a break of eight years during the Depression, the Macoupin County Fair has had an enduring run ever since. Even though there are other counties with long-running fairs, there is no doubt the Macoupin County Fair is one of the oldest in the state and something of which organizers and the entire county can be proud.

To the credit of the Fair Board and all who have been part of the fair over the years, decisions have always been made to serve the best interest of the fair in an effort to strengthen the event and help bolster its longevity. The 2018 fair is no different.

In 2015, a group from Carlinville Winning Communities began an effort to bring an Independence Day celebration to Carlinville. What transpired was a one-day family event that culminated in the first public fireworks display Carlinville had seen in many years.

It was about that time fair organizers decided to try to beat the stifling heat of late July and early August by moving the fair to June. Eventually, the gap between the fair and the Independence Day Celebration narrowed. In 2017, organizers of Carlinville’s Independence Day Celebration found themselves butting up against the Macoupin County Fair. That’s when both groups did a smart thing by bringing the two events together.

This year, fairgoers will get to enjoy a professional fireworks display to end the second full day of the fair, Thursday, June 28. This is due to a cooperative effort between the Macoupin County Fair and the Carlinville Independence Day Celebration organizing committees.

It is our view that combining the events will make a better experience for all who choose to attend. Both events attract people from across the region. By combining them, people who wouldn’t otherwise attend the fair will be able to see the best of what Macoupin County has to offer, and vice versa. People who regularly attend the fair, but are used to doing so without the addition of fireworks, will get more than they bargained for.

There are times when competing events bring out the worst in people, with one side trying to outdo the other. That didn’t happen here. Both committees understood the events are stronger together. The combined events will not only be better for attendees, it will be better for vendors.

In the past, the Independence Day Celebration has been free. To honor that, there will be free admission to the fair after 8:15 p.m. on June 28 only; that does not include carnival wrist bands. Fair rides will close for the 9:15 p.m. fireworks display, which is expected to last 30 minutes, and resume until they close at 10:30 p.m.

We hope the combination of fair and fireworks becomes an enduring legacy for all involved and we credit those to acted to bring the events together for their foresight and cooperation.