GLENWOOD CITY -- The St. Croix Fair is marking May a little late this year, with its annual May fundraiser finding a new home in the fall.
The May Fair Event and Sale was first postponed and then canceled due to the pandemic, but the Friends of the St. Croix County Fairgrounds have managed to keep it alive in some form, with help from Jody Close of Smith Auctions.
The new fundraiser, now called the Maytober Sale, will be an online charity auction held at smith-auctions.com.
Auctions for farm equipment and sales will close Sept. 28 and 29 and Oct. 26 and 27; antiques, collectibles and household will close Oct. 5, sporting goods and firearms will close Oct. 19 and entertainment, services, equine and miscellaneous will close Nov. 4.
The event will raise money toward capital improvements at the fairgrounds.
The fairgrounds is managed and governed by the St. Croix County Fair Board. The Friends group was formed in 2007 to help fundraise for “Renovations for Generations” to fund a capital drive for the fairgrounds. Since then, the Friends and others in the county have helped raise nearly a million dollars that have helped with the board’s construction of four new buildings.
Two dairy barns were the first new buildings to go up, Friends President Chris Libbey said, followed by the horse barn. The livestock barn is the most recent project. The barn is a 13,500-square-foot building with a projected cost of $250,000-$280,000.
The fundraising objective of raising half the money for that barn has been met, and this year’s objective was to raise the remaining money to fully retire the loan on the barn.
All of the construction of the buildings has been managed by the St. Croix County Fair Board. The Friends group helped with the fundraising, but members haven’t been alone, Libbey said. The dairy, horse and livestock 4-H projects have helped raise money as well as 4-H clubs, businesses, civic groups and individuals.
“We had wonderful support from across the county, in particular from the ag community,” Libbey said.
The fair structures were old and in need of at least an update, Libbey said. The new buildings provide comfort and safety for the animals, as well as the exhibitors and spectators.
“We had, like I said, aging facilities, fairly cramped space, and we’ve solved a lot of that problem where people can be intimately involved in the exhibits without being unfortunately involved with the animals,” Libbey said.
Libbey has been a part of the Friends since the beginning, helping form it just a few days after his retirement from 3M. Growing up in 4-H himself and later serving as a general leader, he knew the impact the organization had and how important a county fair can be.
“I got to watch the value of 4-H in developing tomorrow’s leaders,” Libbey said, “and I always felt that the fair is kind of the pinnacle of the 4-H project year so having a good fair not only had a lot of benefit for St. Croix County in general but also particularly had a great benefit as a big component of 4-H/FAA programs.”