The Elkhart County 4-H Fair is always a huge event, drawing tens of thousands of people to the fairgrounds just east of Goshen each of the nine days of the fair every year.
But with our popularity comes something else: Traffic headaches. And that issue is one we’ve done our best to address with Goshen, county and state officials, with everyone pitching in to help fairgoers.
Now, one of the key opportunities of our 2011 land purchase — a new access to the grounds from the south on C.R. 36/College Ave. —is a step closer to reality.
Thanks to the generosity of our community in support of our fundraising efforts, work has started on a timber bridge on fair property that will eventually be part of the south entrance to the grounds.
While the bridge should be finished by the start of this year’s fair July 24, it’s not going to be open for fair traffic, since the roadway hasn’t been started.
Ultimately we hope to have the road completed next year, but that depends on our nonprofit organization’s ability to raise the funds, and it also depends on the engineering and building process. It could take longer.
“General conversation has occurred to complete the road by the 2016 fair, but no engineering or designing has been started,” said Rich Utley, this year’s fair board president.
Regardless of when it gets finished, people can rest assured that we’re working hard on helping traffic issues in any way possible, and that the community supports our plans for the fair.
When we made the land purchase in 2011 that roughly doubled the acreage of our fairgrounds, the community stepped up and helped us pay off the purchase in a little over a year.
Since then the community continued supporting us, allowing us to improve parking and trams and now start the bridge over Rock Run Creek. We’ll continue to work to make trips to the fair — the premiere showcase of our wonderful 4-H programs and so much more — as easy as possible for people, and we have faith that the Elkhart County community and our fair fans will help us.